Torrance, Grand Theft of Sears by Employee, Dismissed
Sears approached our client almost immediately, showing him the video of him at each of the registers and asking him to confess to the theft and return the gift card, as well as the Ipod and games.What One Should Learn from This Case Summary: While a Motion for Civil Compromise in this case was granted, with a big-box retailer like Sears no less, one should not expect such good luck nowadays. This type of dismissal is usually now only possible with small stores, but it did take place due to some aggressive defense work by our firm and a lot of luck.
Our client had nothing to say to defend himself, such as to explain the transactions as legitimate or that Sears did not know the full story. Instead, he simply said nothing.
He then left the store and never returned. He did not return the gift card or the items he took.
He told his mom about his problem and she called Greg Hill & Associates. Greg spoke with the mom, as well as her son, and later had an in-person meeting in our office. The young man was extremely worried about how this charge would affect his future because he planned on applying to a four year college once he finished two years at El Camino Community College.
Greg listened to the story of what happened and explained what he planned on doing. He described a motion for civil compromise as an option and that Sears would most likely send him a demand to pay its loss prevention fees or else risk a civil lawsuit.
Before charges were filed alleging our client's violation of Penal Code § 487(a) (Grand Theft), Sears offered to settle its civil claim against our client, just as Greg predicted. Our client accepted the offer to pay $350.
The Torrance City Prosecutor’s Office then filed its case against our client, alleging a violation of Penal Code § 487. Our client received a letter in the mail, which confused him greatly until he showed it to Greg Hill, who explained what needed to happen in response.
It merits mention that the limitation for grand theft has since been raised to $950, but at the time this case was filed, it was under $950. Had this case been filed at present, the charge would have instead been for misdemeanor petty theft (Penal Code § 484(a)).
Greg Hill of Greg Hill & Associates negotiated and encouraged the Torrance City Prosecutor to stipulate to the Civil Compromise and dismiss the entire case against our client. After all, our client was only 18 years old and he had big ambitions. He had a lapse in judgment. He was otherwise a good kid. To Greg’s great surprise, the Torrance City Prosecutor agreed.
Based on the agreement, and our client’s lack of a prior record, the Court granted our Motion for Civil Compromise and dismissed the case against our client. Our client was happy because he maintained a clean record. At our client's age, a criminal conviction for a crime of dishonesty such as Grand Theft could affect him tremendously in his employment and school.
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