Bi-Partisan Bill Establishes DOJ Unit to Investigate and Prosecute Criminals

ARLINGTON, VA — September 29, 2010 — The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) praised the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Organized Retail Crime Theft Investigation and Prosecution Act of 2010 (H.R. 5932). The bi-partisan legislation was sponsored by Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Conyers (D-MI), Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

     “Our customers’ health and safety are at risk when criminals steal over-the-counter medications, diabetic supplies, infant formula and more from stores and then resell these products at flea markets, pawn shops and on internet auction sites,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer, FMI. “Creating a special unit at the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute members of organized retail crime rings is crucial to combating this very serious criminal problem.”

Supermarkets are routinely victimized by sophisticated theft rings who steal approximately $30 billion worth of merchandise every year from the retail community as a whole. As a result, organized retail theft (ORT) impacts customers’ wallets, too, as they pay higher prices when retailers attempt to recover their losses. In addition, state revenues are also adversely affected by the approximately $1.6 billion in lost sales tax revenue attributed to ORT.

The bill also will include assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies in their efforts to fight ORT.