On behalf of Law Office of Steven Haney posted in Criminal Defense on Friday, October 4, 2013
Although theft is not a violent crime, prosecutors in Illinois take theft charges seriously and the penalties for theft convictions can be very severe. A woman who was accused of stealing merchandise from her employer, an Office Depot in Carol Stream, was recently sentenced to more than four years in prison for the crime.
A DuPage County judge also ordered her to pay $300,000 in restitution to the megastore.
DuPage County prosecutors accused the 48-year-old Chicago woman of stealing merchandise that was returned to the store throughout a five-year period. Instead of processing the returns as was required by store policies, the woman allegedly kept the items and pawned or sold them, or gifted them to friends.
Among the stolen items were cleaning supplies and electronic items, according to the allegations.
Prosecutors claim that the alleged thefts took place on a consistent basis, beginning in 2007 and ending when the woman was arrested in July 2012.
The woman pleaded guilty to a charge of continuing a financial crimes enterprise, according to a news report, and she was sentenced by a judge today.
The state’s attorney in this case argued that greed led the woman to steal from her employer. However, theft is rarely that simple. People are driven to steal for a variety of reasons – to support their families, to fuel a drug or gambling addiction, or to give into an overwhelming impulse, to name a few. Many people need counseling and other types of support to deal with the underlying issues that are resulting in theft.
The root problems that lead to theft, however, can be made worse by the criminal system. Convictions for theft crimes often lead to jail time, as has happened in this case, as well as a permanent criminal record that makes it difficult to find employment and move on with one’s life.
Those who face charges for theft – whether it is shoplifting, embezzlement, or fraud – should protect their rights to the fullest extent by seeking criminal defense counsel. In many cases there are criminal defense strategies available that can minimize the negative consequences of an arrest for theft.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “4 ½ years for woman who stole returned merchandise,” Clifford Ward, Oct. 4, 2013