Nearly all retail chains (Wal-Mart, TJ Maxx, Target, you name it) have law firms on retainer that handle civil recovery matters. What I mean by "civil recovery" is that these firms will attempt to shake you down for $200 if you are believed to have committed an act of theft inside of a store.
Now this is crazy. Many times, especially with petit theft cases, the value of the items alleged to have been stolen is only a few dollars. Yet these firms will write you nasty, threatening letters telling you that you must pay $200 or face a possible lawsuit.
The major offender is a firm called Palmer, Reifler & Associates. This shakedown mill sends out letters to people accused of shoplifting, demanding $200. Now you can be accused of stealing a $10 item, which is recovered and returned to the store in perfect condition, yet these sharks will still try to get that money out of you.
Don't do it without first consulting an attorney. These disgusting creatures prey on people who are frightened. Too many people write checks for $200 without giving the matter too much thought because they want to avoid trouble.
If you have been arrested or issued a written promise to appear for a shoplifting offense in Miami-Dade or Broward, and you get one of these letters in the mail, call me right away.