Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

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Retail theft ring results in serious penalties

Retail crime is everywhere; many people even know someone who has shoplifted before. But it may be hard to believe that between $15 billion and $37 billion are lost to organized retail crime like the theft ring a group of 6 people have been sentenced to prison for. Federal crimes like transporting stolen goods across state borders can land a person federal prison time in addition to hefty fines.

The family theft ring involved a mother, her two daughters, the daughters' husbands, and a third man. Their involvement in the elaborate scheme consisted of purchasing already-stolen goods at bargain prices and reselling them to another group at a profit. They reportedly bought and sold over $16 million worth of stolen goods during the operation, with the original thefts taking place across 6 states, including Georgia.

All 6 faced charges of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property, and the daughters and their husbands were also charged with tax evasion. They face prison sentences ranging from 1 year to 7 years, and they have been ordered to pay back millions of dollars in restitution for the stolen goods in addition to the seizure of cars and properties.

Though federal crimes almost always carry serious penalties like harsher sentences and fines, there is always room for leniency in criminal law. Criminal history, seriousness of the offense, and a variety of other factors may be considered when determining a sentence.

Someone who has been arrested on suspicion of a federal offense should keep in mind that an experienced attorney will be work for total acquittal first and fight for reduced charges and lowered sentences second.

Source: Shelby Star, "Family sentenced to prison for theft ring," Diane Turbyfill, Jan. 25, 2013

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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