Retail Fraud

In Michigan, the retail fraud misdemeanor charge is extremely common and it is also punished as a felony.  A retail fraud case involves the allegations that the defendant stole property from a store.  Defending a retail fraud takes extensive experience of defending retail fraud cases and understanding the reasons why people commit these types of crimes.  Unlike many of the other cases we defend, by the time we are retained on the case, the client has confessed to store security that they in fact stole the property.  The key to defending a retail fraud in this situation it to be able to understand and explain to the court why the retail fraud occurred.


Under the Michigan Third Degree Retail Fraud Statute, MCL 750.356d, one who is accused of stealing less than $200.00 worth of store merchandise is guilty of a misdemeanor with the possibility of a sentence of up to 93 days incarceration.  This is in addition to fines of up to $500.00 or 3 times the value of the merchandise, as well as potential probation.  Retail Fraud 3rd Degree is what we see most often and generally takes place at stores like Walmart, Meijer, and the local malls.



Under the Michigan Retail Fraud Second Degree Statute, if somebody gets caught stealing more than $200.00 up to $1,000.00 of merchandise, or get caught committing a retail fraud 3rd degree with a prior retail fraud conviction, they are guilty of retail fraud second degree.  Additionally, a conviction for a second degree retail can result in fines up to $2,000.00 or 3 times the value of the stolen merchandise.


Retail Fraud First Degree, governed by MCL 750.356c, prohibits one from stealing more than $1,000.00 worth of merchandise from a retail store.  Additionally, one may be charged with retail fraud 1st degree if they commit a retail fraud second degree while having a prior retail fraud.  The penalty for a retail fraud first degree conviction is up to five years imprisonment, as well as a fine up to $10,000.00 or three times the value of the stolen merchandise.


Having represented the most prolific Kleptomaniac in Michigan for the better part of thirty years, we understand the tragic reality of shoplifting disorders.  When most prosecutors and courts look at people charged with a retail fraud charge, they simply see somebody who likes to steal.  However, in the great majority of our cases, our clients have the money to easily pay for the merchandise, yet they steal.  We have found that shoplifting is a mental health issue on par with drug or alcohol addiction.  Getting our clients into specific treatment, with expert counselors who specialize in the treatment of shoplifting disorders, is the first step to avoid jail and prison sentences for retail fraud charges.  After we secure the proper treatment for our clients, educating the court is the next step to ensure a much more favorable sentence.

We are known for our cutting edge defenses to the retail fraud charge, including having a court make a finding that adult attention deficit disorder (a major cause of shoplifting disorders) was a sufficient mental health disorder necessary for a guilty but mentally ill plea which allowed our client who was looking at life in prison to receive a probationary sentence.

If you or a loved one is charged with any type of retail fraud case in Michigan, expect to have the entire Amberg & Amberg team fighting for you.  With innovative motions and defenses, the courage to stand up to tough prosecutors, and the belief in your innocence, we will fight with you to the end.  If you or a family member needs our help, call or email us today.