The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) applauded passage in the U.S. House of Representatives today, of legislation that will create a unit inside the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute Organized Retail Crime (ORC) and assist state and local law enforcement and prosecuting agencies.
“Through passage of this legislation a critical first step has been taken toward combatting organized retail crime and we commend Congress for their leadership and bipartisan support,” said John Emling, senior vice president of government affairs.
The Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Act of 2010 was introduced by House Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and co-sponsored by Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). This bipartisan legislation directs the U.S. Attorney General to establish an Organized Retail Theft and Investigation Unit tasked with investigating and prosecuting ORT, assisting state and local law enforcement’s pursuit of organized retail thieves, and working with victims of the growing criminal activity. Defined in the legislation as “the obtaining of retail merchandise by illegal means to resell or otherwise place such merchandise back into the stream of commerce,” ORT is a component of a multi-billion dollar criminal activity known as organized retail crime (ORC).
ORC involves sophisticated criminal networks that steal large quantities of goods from retailers and in turn sell the goods for profit though pawn shops, flea markets and increasingly on the Internet. Experts estimate organize retail crime losses in the tens of billions of dollars annually.