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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) supported a new law that curbs organized retail theft and holds ringleaders accountable.

“When an organized retail crime is committed, our communities are harmed in ways that extend beyond lost revenue and stolen products,” Bennett said. “This new law gives our state the opportunity to hold people responsible by enacting one of the most comprehensive crime-curbing efforts in the country.”

In partnership with Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the office of the attorney general, the law defines Organized Retail Crime as a specific criminal charge and provides prosecutors with additional resources to hold perpetrators accountable. The law codifies ORC as the theft of retail merchandise with intent to sell.

Under the law, prosecutors will have additional opportunities to bring charges against offenders regardless of where the crime takes place. For example, if the conspiracy, theft and selling occurred in different jurisdictions, each jurisdiction would have the ability to prosecute the entire crime. The Illinois attorney general will also have the ability to prosecute via a statewide grand jury.

To prevent stolen goods from being sold online, the measure also creates the Integrity, Notification and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers Act, or the INFORM Act, to require third-party sellers to verify users’ identity with bank account numbers or other personal identifying information. Sellers who do not comply may be suspended.

The law, originally House Bill 1091, was signed into law Friday.

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