Can Walmart’s “collections” come after me for items that were stolen and recovered but not stolen by me? I have no criminal record and I paid for mine

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Can Walmart’s “collections” come after me for items that were stolen and recovered but not stolen by me? I have no criminal record and I paid for mine

I was with a friend at Walmart and she stole items. They pulled us all back and saw that i was not present when she put the items in the cart and did not charge me or trespass me. She received a ticket, I did not. I had a Law firm telling me I owed WalMart $250 for stolen items. I did not steal them, and they were taken right at the store with no damage done. Do I have to pay this? I cannot afford an attorney to go againts them..What happens if I just dont pay?

Asked on May 6, 2009 under Criminal Law, Colorado

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

You've not been charged with any crime at this time, and the fact that a demand for payment by Walmart's lawyers has been made would make a prosecutor very suspicious should Walmart try to press criminal charges. Prosecutors hate being used as collection agencies.

This makes me think the Walmart lawyers who demanded payment are acting outrageously and have no basis for any criminal claim based on the evidence they have. Indeed, it is legal extortion, using the threat of criminal charges to collect $250 -- and they should be disciplined by the Bar -- they won't because although slime, they are Walmart's lawyers.

If you did not steal anything (or participate i.e. aid and abet or conspire) in a theft by another and Walmart has not suffered any loss for which you are responsible, there would be no basis for a claim against you (although I am NOT Colorado lawyer or your lawyer). Indeed, filing a suit without any legal basis is abuse of process. .

If you are polite, and don't get the lawyers ticked off at you, they likely will go away. They'd have to sue you for the money and it's unlikely they would -- even if they had evidence, unless they have a corporate policy to aways collect or sue, regardless of evidence or the cost effectiveness. It's never worth having lawyers involved to collect $250.

 

A polite letter asking that they detail any basis for their demand, would be one approach. Ideally such a letter could come from a parent or lawyer, so as not to risk the tick-off factor. If you tick them off they might sue, or try to pressure the police or prosecutor to go after you, or have your girlfriend implicate you.


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