Michigan Theft Laws

Michigan Retail Fraud

Michigan Shoplifting Defense Attorneys

The attorneys at Kronzek and Cronkright, PLLC, have nearly a hundred years of combined experience defending clients statewide against theft charges and other property crimes. See why many clients are raving about our case results .

Retail fraud is the act of shoplifting from merchants. It is not uncommon for defendants to be involved in a pattern of shoplifting over time, due to psychological compulsion to steal items for emotional gratification and an adrenaline rush. Some therapists refer to this disorder as kleptomania.

Retail Fraud in the First Degree

In Michigan, first-degree retail fraud is a felony with a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, a fine up to $10,000.00, or 3 times the value of the difference in property stolen, price, or money, whichever is greater, or both.

This applies if an individual in an open store conceals or misrepresents a price, steals items, or attempts to obtain a fraudulent refund or exchange—and the property or price difference is $1,000.00 or more. The total value for prosecution may be added up from a course of conduct over a 12-month period.

Retail Fraud in the Second and Third Degrees

Second-degree retail fraud is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail, a fine up to $2,000.00, or 3 times the value of the difference in money, price, or property stolen, whichever is greater, or both.

This is similar to retail fraud in the first degree except the property value range is $200.00 up to $1,000.00.

For third-degree retail fraud, this is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail, a fine up to $500.00, or 3 times the value of the difference in price, property stolen, whichever is greater, or both.

The value of the property must be less than $200.00.

Furthermore, prior convictions may increase the degree of the offense charged.

The Organized Retail Crime Act

This statute was enacted in March 2013. This transforms what would ordinarily be a misdemeanor into a 5-year felony, a fine up to $5,000.00, or both. Some triggering factors include deactivating store security devices, conspiring with others to commit organized retail crime for profit, receiving stolen goods, and anything stolen for the purpose of resale.

In addition, it is not a defense to a charge that the property was not embezzled, stolen, or converted property at the time, if the property was openly represented to the accused person as being stolen, embezzled, or converted.

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