Letter shoplifting michael ira pay or not ?

Hello, I was caught shoplifting at walmart recently. The total of the merchandise was $80. I got a letter from the law offices of Michael Ira Asen, P.C. in massapequa, NY. They demand that I pay $419 within 7 days of the date of the letter or else walmart store may make further effort to enforce its rights under this law." The merchandise was returned AND no damage was done, so I don't understand why I have to pay this. Not to mention, I am unemployed, so I do not have the money to pay them, and certainly not in 21 days. What happens if I don't pay? Will I get arrested? Can they sue me for the money? Please help.

Massapequa, NY -

Attorney Answers (2)

Eric Edward Rothstein

Eric Edward Rothstein

Criminal Defense Attorney - New York, NY
Answered

Assen will send you a series of letters and will also call seeking a civil demand (which is authorized by state law) of 5 times the value of the goods allegedly stolen up to $500. I advise my clients not to pay this civil demand because I have never seen a store sue to collect as it is not worth their time and money. Assen makes his money off people who give it to him. I write letters to Assen for my clients directing him not to communicate with my client and to only deal with me. This stops him from contacting my clients any further. Ignoring the civil demand letters will not cause you to be arrested now - I've never seen some one arrested after the fact. You got very lucky.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases.... more
Alexander Marriott Fear

Alexander Marriott Fear

Litigation Lawyer - New York, NY
Answered

Don't bother paying. The law allows the store to seek this $$ (even if you returned the merchandise), but I have never seen them come after someone for failing to pay the fine. Its not worth their time and/or effort. In the future, though, DON'T shoplift!

Alexander M. Fear, Esq. 757 Third Ave., 20th Floor New York, New York 10017 212-376-6199 212-656-1269 (fax)... more

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