ALEXANDRIA, Va.-September 22, 2008 - Frank Muscato, organized retail crime investigator for Walgreens, will testify before the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Monday to discuss the effects of organized retail crime on retail pharmacies.
In July, Reps. Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, introduced the Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008 (H.R. 6491). The bill would amend the federal criminal code, making it illegal to engage in activities that further organized retail crime.
Muscato discussed the growing problem of organized retail theft and its impact on chain drug stores.
The hearing examined three bills that would combat organized retail crime: H.R. 6713, the "E-fencing Enforcement Act of 2008", H.R. 6491, the "Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008", and S. 3434, the "Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008." The E-fencing Enforcement Act was introduced by Representative Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.
Organized retail crime (ORC) is responsible for over $30 billion in losses annually, resulting in increased costs for merchants, higher prices for consumers, and lost tax revenue for state and local governments. ORC can threaten the health and safety of consumers if thieves sell infant formula and medicines that have been improperly stored or have altered expiration dates. These crimes are perpetrated by sophisticated crime rings that often use the proceeds to fund other criminal activity.
"ORC is an extremely sophisticated and coordinated crime. It involves highly structured organizations and gangs that hire and control teams of thieves to steal merchandise in large quantities. The legislation currently being considered would make ORC a federal criminal offense, which would be extremely helpful in prosecuting more of these large, multi-jurisdictional cases," said Muscato. "ORC is not garden variety shoplifting. It is organized crime and should be treated as such with stronger penalties and enforcement."
As a member of the Coalition Against Organized Retail Crime, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) is actively engaged in efforts to address the large-quantity theft and re-selling of products such as infant formula, over-the-counter medicines, health and beauty aids, razor blades, batteries and electronics through flea markets, pawn shops, small retail establishments, and online auction sites.
"Organized retail crime drains businesses, harms consumers, and sustains illegal activities that jeopardize public safety," said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. "We applaud Chairman Scott and his colleagues for their commitment to stopping this growing problem."
For more information, visit the Coalition Against Organized Retail Crime website at: www.stopretailcrime.com.