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Unreturned rental leads to criminal charges and an important lesson

Apr 27, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Those of us who grew up in the eighties, nineties and even early in the 21st century remember the joys of going to the local video store to rent the latest movies. We did our best to be kind and rewind before returning the video. We even paid the late fines if we kept that movie too long. Sometimes we may have found ourselves surprised by a late bill, but we could often figure out a way to negotiate it down or pay it and move on.

But what if the problem escalates? Could a late video lead to criminal charges?

Government accuses woman of felony for failing to return a movie

In a recent case, local authorities accused a woman of not just a minor misdemeanor for failing to return a movie, but felony charges. An official notified the woman when she attempted to change her name after getting married. When she filed the paperwork, the clerk told her there was an issue and she needed to reach out to a County District Attorney’s Office. She made the call and found out she was facing charges for felony embezzlement — all because there was an unreturned copy of Sabrina the Teenage Witch on her account from 1999.

The woman is now connecting some dots from past experiences. She stated employers would fire her without good reason. It turns out the reason is likely because the employer ran a background check and found out she was wanted for embezzlement.

Charges dropped in this case, but it still provides an important lesson

Thankfully this case has a happy ending. The County District Attorney’s Office decided to dismiss the charges. But not everyone has the same experience. The case shows how charges may not fit the alleged crime and can have a negative impact on the accused person’s life even decades after it happened. Anyone in a similar situation, facing criminal charges for what seems like a minor infraction, is wise to take the charges seriously. Fight back. Protect your interests because you never know how far into the future the charges could impact your life.