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     *2022 Results: Approx. 99% of Mark Zinck's clients avoided a criminal record (conviction) for charges of theft, fraud, assault, mischief and threats.

Amazon employee theft under and over $5000 charges at Ontario Fulfillment Centers

Amazon warehouses regularly report employee thefts to the police resulting in criminal charges for theft under and over $5000. Almost all of these incidents are recorded via CCTV video surveillance by Amazon loss prevention officers which is used as evidence in court.

Employees may be aware that there are cameras at the warehouse distribution centers but unaware of how closely Amazon loss prevention (LP) security actively watches them as they work. LP officers pay particularly close attention to employees handling electronic merchandise as these items are frequently stolen. Products from Apple, Samsung, Sony, etc. can easily be taken and sold for profit. As such, substantial loss prevention resources are focused on observing and monitoring these and other similar types of items.

How employees are surveilled while they handle products by loss prevention

Employees are watched via high definition CCTV security cameras. While some cameras are hidden, others are prominently displayed for deterrence purposes. Loss prevention can move the cameras to closely follow employee actions and zoom in on them as they record. They are looking for signs that a worker may be stealing including looking into the cameras, opening boxes, and concealing products under their clothes. LP officers also conduct undercover work pretending to be fellow employees on the warehouse floor to gain inside information about potential thefts occurring both on and off site.

Once enough evidence has been gathered (often on more than one occasion), security will then notify HR of the suspected theft who will immediately suspend the employee from their job. A report will then be filed with the police (Peel, Toronto, Halton, etc.) which will include any and all witness statements and all CCTV video evidence. Sometimes the accused will also have provided a statement to HR, LP security officers, the police, or other 3rd parties which will also be used as evidence against them. Whether a statement is provided by the accused or not, the police will proceed with criminal charges.

The two most common charges laid against Amazon employees by police in Ontario are Theft Under $5000 (s. 334 (b) C.C.C.) and Theft Over $5000 (s. 334 (a) C.C.C.).

There may be a x2, x3, etc. noted after the charge on the paperwork provided by the police as well corresponding with the number of counts if the alleged thefts happened on more than one occasion. C.C.C. stands for Criminal Code of Canada.

Being arrested and charged outside of the workplace

If the accused is not at work at the time of arrest, the police will either call them via an Unknown number and ask them to attend at the police station or they will attend at their home to make the arrest. Upon arrest the accused is normally provided with a Form 10 Undertaking / Promesse document with a fingerprint/photograph date and a court date. The courthouse of your case will correspond to the police jurisdiction of the warehouse location (Peel, TPS, Halton, etc.). All Peel Regional Police cases will have a court date at 7755 Hurontario Street, Brampton. The Undertaking may also list additional conditions such as not to attend at the Amazon warehouse they were working at and to notify the police officer in charge (OIC) of any change of address, employment or occupation.

The police could also charge the accused on a Form 9 Appearance Notice or hold them for bail at which point they would receive a Form 11 Release Order if granted bail by the court. The arrest procedure will depend on the facts of the case, the criminal and personal history of the accused, and the police officer's discretion. Receiving the Form 10 Undertaking is currently the most common method of release.

Along with the charging paperwork (Form 9, 10, or 11) the accused will probably also be provided with a “Notice of Intention to Produce Certain Documents and / or Photographs in Evidence” (s. 491.2 and / or s. 657.1 of the Criminal Code) paper also listing the charges (theft under and/or over $5000) and advising the accused that the prosecution intends to produce Video Surveillance into evidence in their case.

Amazon employee theft charges are considered serious “breach of trust” type thefts by Ontario Crown Attorneys. Jail time and a criminal record is often sought for first time offenders.

All thefts and frauds that occur at the workplace are classified by Ontario Crown Attorney’s as serious because the employee is taking advantage of being placed in a position of trust. The courts have continued to say that “biting the hand that feeds” by committing a breach of trust type theft is a significant aggravating factor. A jail sentence is initially sought for most offenders along with a criminal conviction record. This includes first time offenders with no prior records of arrest or charges.

Since most of the items stolen by employees at Amazon distribution centers tend to be high priced electronics the total case values also tend to be higher. The total value of what is stolen is also considered by the Crown and the courts when assessing the case. The higher the value the more serious. What is considered to be a lot varies depending on the Crown Attorney and the judge. Certainly any amount over $300 is viewed as somewhat significant (most cases far exceed this amount).

Multiple, repeated incidents prior to arrest

The accused may be facing multiple counts of theft as the arrest is usually not made immediately. Loss prevention may wait for more than one incident to occur on video prior to reporting it to the police and HR. They do this to bolster the case and also monitor to see if any other employees may be involved as well. If other employees are suspected they too will be put under surveillance, recorded, and eventually reported to the police and arrested. LP officers will also go back through previous recorded video to try to identify prior thefts once they become aware that an employee has been stealing.

If an arrest has already been made (accused has already received a court date), the prior thefts may be added to the accused’s list of pending charges afterwards by the police or Crown Attorney. Contrary to popular belief, court charging paperwork can always be amended afterward to add additional charges or change the listed offences.

The intended use of the stolen items is another potentially aggravating factor

The Crown Attorney and judge will also consider the purpose for which the items were stolen. If the employee was stealing the products to sell on their own (perhaps on Kijiji, Craigslist, Leolist, Facebook Marketplace, etc.) this is considered an aggravating factor. Factors such as the same item being repeatedly stolen and any statements made by the accused may lead to the determination that the items were not stolen for personal use, but for resale. The nature of the products themselves is also considered as selling a Macbook, Surface Book, iPhone, Galaxy, etc. for a reduced price will easily attract buyers.

The buyers of stolen merchandise from Amazon may also be charged with possession of property obtained by crime (s. 354 C.C.C.) if they are intentionally seeking or willfully blind to the fact that the property was stolen. Trafficking in property obtained by crime (s. 355.2 C.C.C.) charges may also be laid against both the buyer (if acting as a fence) and seller depending on the circumstances. Trafficking charges often result from undercover police sting operations.

Our criminal defence lawyer represents Amazon employees charged with theft from all fulfillment centers in Ontario, including:
  1. YYZ1 – 6363 Millcreek Drive, Mississauga
  2. YYZ2 – 2750 Peddie Road, Milton
  3. YYZ3 – 7995 Winston Churchill Blvd. Brampton
  4. YYZ4/YYZ6 – 8050 Heritage Road, Brampton
  5. YYZ7 – 12724 Coleraine Drive, Caledon (Bolton)
  6. YYZ9 – 6451 Steeles Ave. E, Toronto
Criminal defence matters are time sensitive. If you have been charged it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to start working on your case.

We offer a free no obligation consultation to anyone charged with theft under and/or over $5000 in Ontario, Canada.



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*2022 Results: the percentage of 99% of clients avoiding a criminal record (conviction) stated on this page is based solely on Lawyer Mark Zinck's personal representation of approximately 2000 criminal defence case clients as of the year 2022. Past results are not necessarily an indication of future results.


 

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   We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration/IRCC issues
  • Employment background check advice and services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
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  • Experienced, focused counsel