Husband was caught shoplifting at Sears. The product taken from the store was under $20. He goes to court next month. We just received a letter from Neal C. Tenen saying that he must pay $150 or they will pursue legal action. This fee is claimed to be for damages against my husband. I've heard this is an extra way for them to get additional money out of people and that you don't have to pay this. Is this true? We already have to pay his fine and go to court. Why should we have to pay this as well?? What should we do?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Any money the judge orders your husband to pay is a court fine that must be paid. But before you go to court, get a lawyer. A shoplifting conviction can make him unemployable for life, and he may, with a lawyer be eligible for other options, such as pretrial diversion.
Many lawyers think the letters from Attorney Neal Tenen border on extortion (and since they prosecute anyway, payment could be treated as an admission in the criminal case). Ignore the letter and focus on getting a lawyer for court. He's flooded America with these letters from Sears/Kmart for years. While potentially Sears could sue you, the odds are slim and none.
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