Retail Fraud Diversion Program

Most people use the term "shoplifting." Michigan law calls it "retail fraud." Retail fraud includes stealing merchandise from a store when it is open for business, switching price tags, and returning stolen merchandise. In instances of theft, the defendant does not have to leave the store itself or the store's property: passing all points of purchase without attempting to pay may be sufficient to prove the required intent to steal.

Retail Fraud Classes

Retail Fraud classes are held the 2nd and 3rd Saturdays of every month.

How the Retail Fraud Diversion Program Works

An Eaton County business that is the victim of a retail fraud files a formal complaint with the Prosecuting Attorney's Office. The Economic Crimes Unit (ECU) uses the following guidelines to determine eligibility of participants:

  • The case must involve theft of less than $200 (Retail Fraud 3rd Degree).
  • The participant did not fight, struggle or resist police or store employees.
  • The participant must not have any prior criminal convictions.
  • The participant must not have participated in a diversion program before.

If the wrongdoer qualifies, then the ECU sends a formal letter to him/her detailing the steps required to resolve the matter. If the wrongdoer completes the necessary steps, the Prosecutor's office will not issue formal charges.

Steps Necessary to Complete the Retail Fraud Diversion Program

  1. After receiving the formal contact letter, the participant must call to schedule an intake appointment and interview.
  2. At the scheduled appointment date, participants must complete the required steps. When all four steps are completed the complaint will be closed without prosecution. If all four steps are not completed the participant has failed diversion, and will be formally prosecuted.
    1. Pay the applicable civil demand fee in a money order, a business can charge a civil demand up to 10 times the amount of the value of the item stolen, but the total civil demand can only be between $50 and $200
    2. Pay a diversion fee to Eaton County in a money order ($275 for adults, $225 for juveniles)
    3. Complete a written statement and complete the diversion agreement
    4. Complete two cognitive thinking classes, participants must bring an $80 fee on the first class date only

Adult & Juvenile Cases

Our Retail Fraud Diversion Program is used for both adult and juvenile wrongdoers.