Severe Sentence Likely for Twin Cities Man Facing Felony Theft Charges

Early in the summer of 2011, officers of the Wright County Sheriff's Office received a report of possible embezzlement by an employee at the Sketchers USA Outlet in Albertville. Shawn Gohmann, a 36-year-old manager at the store, had allegedly been using fraudulent returns on cash sales to pocket between $40 and $300 every day.

Wright County detectives worked with the Sketchers corporate loss prevention team to set up secret video surveillance systems at the Sketchers outlet location. Several recordings were taken of Gohmann making shoe returns with no customers in the store, forging signatures on receipts and taking cash from these illegitimate transactions.

When confronted, Gohmann admitted to ongoing thefts that had been taking place since 2008. Total losses to Sketchers were reported at $43,833.45. In Minnesota, the maximum sentence for felony theft of items valued at more than $35,000 is 20 years in prison, $100,000 in fines, or both. Gohmann will need the experience of a theft defense lawyer to be his advocate. If convicted, he may end up serving a substantial length of time.

Felony Theft in Minnesota

In Minnesota, a number of forms of stealing that were formerly classified as separate crimes (embezzlement, larceny, false pretenses, etc.) have been consolidated into one comprehensive theft statute. In a nutshell, theft involves a wrongful taking of any form of tangible real or personal property.

As a general rule, theft is a felony in Minnesota (punishable by a year or more in prison) if the item or items taken are worth more than $1,000. The law sets forth harsher possible sentences the greater the value of the property stolen. For instance, while the maximum sentence for stealing property valued at $35,000 or more is a 20 year prison term and a $100,000 fine, theft of property worth at least $1,000 but no more than $5,000 is punishable by a five years sentence and a $10,000 fine at most.

Stealing certain types of items, regardless of value, can also lead to even harsher felony theft penalties. For example, stealing any firearm can land an offender in prison for 20 years with a $100,000 fine.

Potential consequences for stealing a gun are by far the harshest of all felony theft sentences based on the category of property taken. But, the theft of other specific items, such as motor vehicles, explosives, illegal drugs, or anything that is looted or taken from a grave, can also result in serious felony theft penalties, no matter what the value of the item or items taken.

Get Help from a Qualified Attorney

If you have been charged with felony theft in Minnesota, you may not only face prison time, but you will also have to worry about long term consequences. The consequences of a felony conviction can follow a person for a long time, sometimes even making it difficult to get a job. Make sure your rights are protected and give yourself the best possible chances at a bright future by contacting a Twin Cities criminal defense lawyer today.