Retailers Try for Third Year to Pass 'Organized Retail Crime' Legislation
By Ina Steiner
Congressman Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) introduced legislation on Friday that would establish an investigation and prosecution unit within the Department of Justice to deal specifically with a major aspect of what retailers call "organized retail crime." This is the third year retail trade associations have worked to introduce legislation designed to combat the problem of large-scale retail theft. However, unlike previous legislation, H.R. 5932 does not specifically name eBay or online auction sites in the text of the bill. Last year, eBay hired Paul Jones, former Vice President of Asset Protection at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), as its Global Director of Retail Partnerships.
The Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Act of 2010 would create an Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Unit (ORTIP Unit) comprised of investigators, prosecutors, and other personnel dedicated to investigating and prosecuting large-scale retail theft and assisting state and local law enforcement and prosecuting agencies.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) is a trade association whose members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales.
Full text of House Resolution 5932 Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Act of 2010:
A BILL To establish the Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Unit in the Department of Justice, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the "Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Act of 2010".
SEC. 2. ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION UNIT.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT. - Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall establish the Organized Retail Theft Investigation and Prosecution Unit (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the "ORTIP Unit").
(b) COMPOSITION. - The ORTIP Unit shall include investigators, prosecutors, and any other personnel necessary to carry out the duties of the ORTIP Unit.
(c) DUTIES. - The duties of the ORTIP Unit are as follows:
(1) To investigate and prosecute those instances of organized retail theft over which the Department of Justice has jurisdiction.
(2) To assist State and local law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting organized retail theft.
(3) To consult with and advise victims of organized retail theft.
SEC. 3. DEFINITION.
In this Act, the term "organized retail theft" means - (1) the obtaining of retail merchandise by illegal means for the purpose of reselling or otherwise placing such merchandise back into the stream of commerce; or (2) aiding or abetting the commission of or conspiring to commit any of the acts described in paragraph (1).
SEC. 4. REPORT.
Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall submit a report containing recommendations on how retailers, online businesses, and law enforcement agencies can help prevent and combat organized retail theft to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and of the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate. The Attorney General shall make the report available to the public on the web site of the Department of Justice.
SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Attorney General to carry out this Act, $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2015.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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