Your friend should ignore the letter. It is a legalized scam, written about much in this forum. You said no arrest, so nothing should show up on a CORI check.
To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.
Massachusetts General Law chapter 231 section 85R 1/2 gives merchants the right to demand a civil fine from would be shoplifters. Many states have such a law. It's the result of merchant's lobbyists getting various legislatures to allow the merchants to offset their losses to successful shoplifters by charging this fine to unsuccessful shoplifters. It is completely legal but not fair, in my opinion.
Paying the fine has no bearing on whether they will pursue criminal charges against your friend. He could pay and still get charged. If he doesn't pay the fine then the store would have to sue him to get the $375. They're not going to do that because it would cost a WHOLE LOT more to pay their lawyers to do so. In every case like this I've had, I tell my client to ignore the letter. They may have gotten one or two more, but that was it.
As for your friend's CORI, he would have to get arraigned for the charges to get onto his record. Arraignment is when he appears in court in front of a judge and he is formally charged. If that hasn't happened, he hasn't been arraigned and he has no entry on his record from this incident.
How could his job find out about this anyway? If there is no entry on his CORI he would have to tell them himself.
Give your friend some advice from me ~ stop stealing! If he got caught he isn't good at it. If he wants a decent future he shouldn't do dumb things now.
Attorney Lauren Craig Redmond ~ 617.953.6116 ~ No attorney/client relationship is established or implied by any email or phone conversation.