Articles Posted in Larceny/Stealing

On April 29, 2024, ML, a 32 year old Indian woman, was caught shoplifting at a large department store in Cambridge. She had been shoplifting from that store for a considerable time and had now put in danger her ability to stay here in the U.S. She is in the U.S. on a student visa, and shoplifting (larceny) is a deportable offense. In May of 2024 she was due to graduate from one of the most prestigious universities in Boston with a graduate degree. ML contacted Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin explained in detail the deportation consequences of a shoplifting conviction and he explained the importance of immediately opening a conversation with the police. ML retained Attorney Lewin.

Attorney Lewin immediately contacted the police prosecutor from Cambridge and then Attorney Lewin was able to speak with the actual officer who was investigating ML’s case and who would make the decision about prosecuting the case in court. Because ML had contacted Attorney Lewin immediately after being caught and before any court action had been begun, there was a chance (non-existent in most cases) that the case could be stopped BEFORE any court action was begun by the police (or the store). On May 17, 2024, after several productive conversations with the police, the police agreed NOT to bring any charges against ML, provided she stay out of the store for one year and provided that she pay $985 in restitution to the store. ML paid the restitution that same day. ML then attended her graduation!

It is very unusual to be able to “kill” one of these shoplifting cases at the “police station” level without the case going to a Clerk-Magistrate hearing. As a result of this disposition, Attorney Lewin explained the following to ML.

SV, a 39 year old Nigerian alien, was caught shoplifting on December 2, 2022 at Macy’s in Saugus. Unfortunately for SV, she was known to the loss prevention personnel at Macy’s as someone who had stolen from the store on previous occasions but had not been caught. The police charged SV and because she had a prior history at the store the police requested that the Clerk-Magistrate at Lynn District Court issue a criminal complaint against SV without affording her a clerk-magistrate hearing first. The clerk-magistrate granted the request of the police and SV received a summons in the mail to appear for an arraignment at Lynn District Court on April 4, 2023.  SV consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Because of her status as an alien, having a record for shoplifting (a crime of moral wrongdoing) could lead to her being deported from the country and being denied citizenship.

Attorney Lewin immediately went to work on the case and obtained all the police reports. Most persons charged with shoplifting are afforded a clerk-magistrate hearing before a criminal complaint is issued. Many of these shoplifting cases get resolved favorably at the Clerk-Magistrate Hearing without a criminal complaint being issued.   In SV’s case however, the criminal complaint against her had been issued without a hearing. The complaint was scheduled for an arraignment and it is the taking place of the arraignment that causes a criminal record to be created. And it is the creation of a criminal record for shoplifting that would create big problems for SV as an alien. It became very important for Attorney Lewin to try to avoid the arraignment from taking place.

Attorney Lewin prepared a lengthy motion (written request) to dismiss the charge against SV without the arraignment taking place. Attorney Lewin sent a copy of the Motion to the District Attorney’s Office before the scheduled arraignment date.  On April 4, 2023 SV and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lynn District Court. Attorney Lewin met with the Assistant District Attorney handling the case and explained the devastating effects having a criminal record would have on SV. Attorney Lewin asked the Assistant District Attorney to agree to dismiss the case without the arraignment taking place. The Assistant District Attorney agreed.

On October 2, 2021, NS, a 38 year old alien (green card holder) from India was caught shoplifting in Macy’s in Saugus. Macy’s had her on video and actually had her on video on three prior occasions shoplifting in the store. The loss prevention officer escorted NS back to the security office and the Saugus Police were called. The Saugus Police took her information and did not arrest her; they told her she would receive a notice from the Lynn District Court.

NS and her husband began a search for a lawyer. NS and her husband consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin explained how lucky NS was that the police did not arrest her. They could have and then she would have been fingerprinted and she would have to appear before a Judge and a criminal record would have been created. Attorney Lewin immediately contacted the Saugus Police Prosecutor to request that the case be set up for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. This was done.

Attorney Lewin recognized that NS had a serious problem. NS completely lacked the ability to see the situation she was in. NS kept saying it was an accident and a mistake. Attorney Lewin pointed out that stealing merchandise four times from the same store was not an accident or mistake. On four different occasions NS had gone into the store with the intention to steal; she had picked up merchandise, placed it into a bag, then hidden the merchandise under other items in the bag, and then walked out of the store without paying.  Those were all intentional acts that required planning and execution. Attorney Lewin explained to NS and her husband that if Attorney Lewin tried to sell her behavior to the police prosecutor and the Clerk-Magistrate as an “accident or mistake” that the police would not cooperate nor would the Clerk-Magistrate.

MS, a 47 year old female immigrant from Haiti, received a Notice of a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing from Chelsea District Court. The Chelsea Police had applied for a criminal complaint against MS for two counts of Forgery (checks), two counts of Uttering, and two counts of Larceny By False Pretenses. All six counts are felonies and all of the charges could lead to deportation. MS had absolutely no idea what the charges were about.

MS consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin immediately went to Chelsea Court and obtained copies of the Application for Criminal Complaint and the underlying police report. The police had received information from a bank investigator that an account holder at the bank had noticed a series of debits in her bank account for checks that she had not written. The checks were forged. Two of the forged checks had been made payable to MS and had been deposited in MS’s account at the bank.

The police applied for a criminal complaint against MS. It turns out that MS had in fact opened a joint bank account with her son, who was a minor at the time. Some months after opening the account, the two large checks made payable to MS were deposited into the account. The checks were in fact forgeries. Attorney Lewin contacted the bank investigator and asked for documentation showing that MS’s bank account was in fact a joint account. The bank investigator furnished the documentation to Attorney Lewin. Attorney Lewin also asked for the documentation showing how the account was opened. The Account opening documents show signature cards for both MS and her son and the initial deposit was a work check from MS’s son’s employment. The two large forged checks that were deposited were made out to MS; however, they were deposited remotely online so there was no surveillance photos or videos to show who made the deposit.

DC, a male nurse in his mid thirties, was employed at an agency that provides care for disabled adults. Care is provided in the patients’ homes and patients are also brought to a center where there are day activities for them. DC began caring for Paul (not the patient’s real name) in 2014. Paul suffered from Klumpke paralysis and had virtually no use of his hands and arms and also suffered from some mental disabilities. DC had earned a Bachelors Degree in Nursing and from his earnings as a nurse supported himself, his wife, and two very young children. Paul had a can in his bedroom in which he kept cash. In July of 2019 Paul reported to his father that he (Paul) had witnessed DC reach in to the can and remove $1,200.00 in cash from the can which Paul said DC then put in his pocket. Paul’s father reported this to the Police. The police came out to Paul’s house and interviewed Paul. The interview was recorded. Paul told the police in that interview that the theft had occurred during the previous Fall (i.e. the Fall of 2018) and that DC had taken the money and purchased a wood stove with it.

The police went to Newburyport District Court and took out a criminal complaint against DC for Larceny Over $250 from a Disabled Person. (The statute has now been changed from $250 to $1,200). The charge is a felony and a conviction would cost DC his Registration as a Nurse and a conviction certainly would have meant jail. DC consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin explained to DC that the case would take a great deal of preparation and would require a jury trial. There were a number of witnesses who had to be interviewed. Attorney Lewin’s investigator (a retired Chief of Police and former president of the Massachusetts Association of Private Investigators) did yeoman’s work in locating the witnesses and getting statements from the witnesses that would prove very helpful at the trial. DC provided Attorney Lewin with hundreds of pages of text messages between DC and Paul over a period of 3 years. Never once in those three years of text messages did Paul ever mention anything about DC stealing money. DC provided Attorney Lewin with twelve months of voice messages left by Paul on DC’s phone. Never once in any of those voice messages did Paul ever mention anything about DC stealing money. (Attorney Lewin has been practicing criminal law since 1971 and no client has worked as hard as DC did in helping to prepare his defense.) With Covid-19 it took 20 months to get a trial date. On May 4, 2021 a trial date of October 9, 2021 was set. That date got pushed back to November 9, 2021. In the weeks leading up to the trial Attorney Lewin and DC spent hours and hours preparing for the trial. Attorney Lewin interviewed and re-interviewed DC and his wife to prepare them for testifying in court. All of the recordings of the voice messages were readied to be played for the jury. All of the text messages were transcribed.

On November 9, 2021 all the parties appeared at Court ready for trial. A Jury was empaneled. The trial began. Paul and his father and the lead police investigator testified for the Commonwealth. Attorney Lewin called DC’s two supervisors, a co-worker who also had treated Paul, DC’s wife and then DC himself. DC was the last witness and his testimony finished at about 4:00 PM on November 9. On November 10, 2021 the parties all returned to Court. Attorney Lewin made a very forceful closing argument for a not guilty verdict. The Assistant District Attorney made a forceful closing argument for conviction. The Judge gave the jury their instructions and the Jurors went to the jury room to deliberate at about 11:30 AM. At 1:00 PM the court recessed for lunch. At 2:00 PM when all parties returned from lunch the Court Officer informed the Court that the Jury had reached a verdict. The jurors filed into the Courtroom. The Clerk instructed DC to stand. DC stood and the Clerk asked the foreperson of the Jury: “Madame foreperson has the jury reached a verdict.” The foreperson answered “Yes” The Clerk asked: “What say you, is the Defendant Guilty or Not Guilty of Larceny over $250 from a Disabled Person?”. The foreperson answered: “NOT guilty”

On April 5, 2019 ML was working as a bar tender at a hall in Haverhill. There was a mercy meal function and she had been called in to work the function. ML was a 49 year old single mother of two children.  During the course of the evening ML had occasion to go out to a storage hallway behind the bar to pick up an additional bottle of liquor for the bar. While in the back hallway a woman came out of the ladies room (which was located off the hallway) and handed a pocket book to ML. The lady told ML that she found the pocketbook in the ladies room. ML quickly glanced inside the pocketbook and then walked back into the area behind the bar and placed the pocketbook on a shelf under the bar next to her own pocketbook. All the above was captured on a security video in the hallway and behind the bar. At a later point in the evening ML can be seen (on the security video) bending down under the bar in the area where she had placed her own pocketbook and the pocketbook that had been handed to her. Later in the evening a woman at the mercy meal can be seen running around the hall and finally approaching the bar. The woman tells ML that she cannot find her pocketbook. ML is seen immediately getting the pocketbook and handing it to the woman. The lady looks inside the pocket book and yells that her $500 in cash for her rent was missing from the pocket book. The woman dials 911 and the police respond. The police speak to ML who denies stealing anything from the pocketbook.

The next day the police review all the security videos from the bar and charge ML with Larceny (stealing) of the $500 allegedly taken from the pocketbook.

ML then meets with and retains Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. ML and Attorney Lewin go to Haverhill District Court. ML – from day one – insisted to Attorney Lewin that ML was innocent. The case went through an arraignment, a pre-trial hearing, several discovery compliance dates (so that Attorney Lewin could get all the security videos), and ultimately was set down for a trial by jury on March 31, 2020. Then the covid 19 pandemic struck. It took a year and a half to finally get a new firm date for jury trial. The case was set down for trial on Monday, August 16, 2021. In the weeks leading up to the trial ML and Attorney Lewin prepared for the trial. Attorney Lewin prepared ML to testify in her own defense at the trial. At the same time Attorney Lewin “pestered” the DA’s Office to drop the case. On Friday morning, August 13, 2021, the Judge in Haverhill District Court had scheduled a “trial readiness conference” with the Assistant District Attorney and Attorney Lewin (on the phone). The Assistant District Attorney told the Judge and Attorney Lewin that the District Attorney was filing a “nolle prosequi”. A “nolle prosequi” is a termination of the prosecution of a criminal case by the Commonwealth. It is a dismissal of the case that is filed by the Commonwealth.

MT, is a building and roofing contractor. He is now (April of 2021) age 57.

  • In 1994 he took a $5,350.00 deposit from a customer in Andover, MA but did not do the work. He was charged by the police with Grand Larceny. In 1994 he went to Lawrence District Court, was found guilty, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5,350.00. He failed to make the payment and a default warrant issued for his arrest.
  • In 2015 he took a $4,000.00 deposit from a couple in Chelmsford, MA but did not do the work. The police charged him with Grand Larceny and a straight warrant for his arrest was issued by Lowell District Court. (A straight warrant simply means the court did not summons him; rather than a summons the court issued a “straight” warrant.)

On Friday, August 21, 2020 two 18 year old twins got caught shoplifting at Walmart in Tewksbury. The police were called to the store and the twins were arrested. They were bailed from the Tewksbury Police station and told to appear in Lowell District Court on Monday, August 24, 2020. Over that weekend the twins met with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin explained that the twins would qualify for the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Young Adult diversion program. The program essentially allows young adults to avoid prosecution for certain criminal offenses.

Over that weekend Attorney Lewin prepared a Motion to Divert the cases out of the criminal court system. On Monday, August 24, 2020 the twins and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lowell District Court. At Attorney Lewin’s request neither girl was arraigned. This is important because it is the taking place of the arraignment that creates a criminal record. Instead the cases were referred to the diversion program and the cases were continued to October 8, 2020 to see if the Diversion Program would accept the twins.  On October 8, 2020 everyone appeared virtually (the twins had gone off to college and were away from Lowell) and the Assistant District Attorney and Attorney Lewin reported to the Judge that the twins had been accepted into the Diversion Program. On October 8, 2020 the arraignment again did not take place and the cases were continued until April 5, 2021 to allow the twins to complete the diversion program.

The twins successfully completed the diversion program. On April 5, 2021 the twins and Attorney Lewin appeared virtually one last time before the Court. The Assistant District Attorney and Attorney Lewin reported to the Judge that both young women had successfully completed the Diversion Program. The Judge then ordered both cases DISMISSED, prior to arraignment. Attorney Lewin explained to the two young women that because the cases were dismissed prior to any arraignment taking place the following took place:

In 2010, SL, a 19 year old exotic dancer was living with another dancer in Fitchburg. They had a falling out and SL moved out and moved down to Florida. Unbeknownst to SL, her former roommate in Fitchburg accused SL of stealing money and a cell phone from the apartment they had shared. The roommate went to the police and the police took out a criminal complaint against SL for Larceny Over $250 (a felony). Because SL was of parts unknown a warrant was issued for her arrest by Fitchburg District Court. Years passed and SL moved to upper New York State. SL went to apply for a driver’s license but was turned down by the NY DMV because her right to drive in Massachusetts was under suspension because of the warrant in Fitchburg District Court. That is when SL first learned of the case in Fitchburg District Court.

SL contacted Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. After a thorough initial free consultation SL, now age 29, hired Attorney Lewin. Attorney Lewin explained to SL that with a little luck they might be able to get the case favorably resolved without SL having to come to Massachusetts. On February 4, 2021 SL retained Attorney Lewin. Attorney Lewin immediately contacted the Fitchburg District Court and was able to obtain all the court papers and the police report. Attorney Lewin emailed copies to SL and they reviewed them together. SL told Attorney Lewin that she was innocent of the charge and after reading the police report it was clear to Attorney Lewin that the State could not prove the case against SL. Attorney Lewin immediately contacted the DA’s Office and within five days the DA’s Office agreed to dismiss the case without SL having to come to Massachusetts and the court.

On February 17, 2021 Attorney Lewin and SL appeared via Zoom in Fitchburg District Court. Attorney Lewin had prepared and filed a Motion to Cancel the Warrant, Allow the parties to appear via zoom, and Dismiss the case prior to arraignment. After a brief hearing the Judge Ordered the warrant cancelled and the case dismissed prior to arraignment.

On March 1, 2020, RL, a 22 year old senior at a prestigious local university, went into a market in Waltham and stole (shoplifted) about $36.00 worth of merchandise. She got caught. RL is a Chinese National here on a student visa. She saw her life passing in front of her: she jeopardized her graduation and degree from the University and she jeopardized her ability to return to the United States if she left the U.S. and then tried to return. RL contacted and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin told RL that if the case were handled carefully then prosecution could possibly be avoided. Shortly after March 1 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic RL was forced o return to China.

Attorney Lewin requested a Clerk-Magistrate hearing. The hearing was scheduled for April 2, 2020 but because of the pandemic had to be rescheduled three times. Attorney Lewin spoke at length with the police prosecutor from Waltham and explained the situation that RL had put herself in.  Attorney Lewin advocated for the police to dismiss their application for criminal complaint.

On Thursday, October 29, 2020 a virtual (via zoom) Clerk-Magistrate Hearing was held at Waltham District Court. Attorney Lewin explained RL’s situation and (as Attorney Lewin had requested) the police prosecutor told the Clerk-Magistrate that the police were withdrawing their application for criminal complaint. This was the best of all possible results.

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