Retail fraud is the formal criminal charge when a person is caught shoplifting in Michigan. Although the information in this publication is relevant to our retail fraud practice in Macomb County, I would say that the vast majority of the retail fraud cases that we handle in the 42-1 District Court occur at the Meijer store located in Washington Township on the northeast corner of 26 Mile and Van Dyke. Most of those that we see facing retail fraud charges in this jurisdiction are first time offenders or those with a minor prior criminal record which we try to discount in the court system. The age of a person does not have any barriers for those who commit the offense of retail fraud. Our firm has represented individuals that qualify as juveniles (under age 17) as well as senior citizens. Some reasons associated with the conduct of retail fraud are financial distress, psychological issues, substance abuse, recent loss of a loved one, PTSD, adjustment to medications and peer pressure. However, I would say that isolated impulsive behavior is the number one reason that a person commits an act of retail fraud.
Retail fraud may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony
Retail fraud can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending upon the value of the property involved. Here is how the State of Michigan breaks it down in the Michigan Penal Code: