Oklahoma woman was charged with a felony for not returning a VHS rental two decades ago

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,448   +132
Staff member
Facepalm: In 1999, a woman in Oklahoma allegedly rented a VHS copy of Sabrina the Teenage Witch from a local video store. Now more than 20 years later, the rental has come back to haunt her in the form of a felony. And hilariously enough, the video rental store that filed the complaint, a “Movie Place” shop in Norman, closed down in 2008.

Caron McBride told local Fox affiliate KOKH that she first became aware of an issue when going to change the name on her license after getting married in Texas. McBride was asked to call the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office, who informed her that she had been charged with felony embezzlement of rented property in March 2000.

McBride said she doesn’t even recall renting the tape, adding that the show “is just not my cup of tea.” She believes a man who had been living with her at the time might have rented it for his children and forgot to return it.

Worse yet, McBride said she had been let go from several jobs over the years with no reason given. “This is why… because when they ran my criminal background check, all they're seeing is those two words: felony embezzlement,” McBride said.

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending as the DA’s office has decided to dismiss the case. The Cleveland County Court Clerk has also been ordered to expunge the indictment from her record.

Image credit Valery Lisin, H.studio

Permalink to story.

 

Scshadow

Posts: 652   +309
So you lose jobs by failing background checks and you aren't told why? That doesn't seem to make any sense. But one thing is clear, she isn't being charged just now for felony embezzlement, she has had a felony embezzlement charge on her for 20 years unaddressed. Not the same thing. Usual click bait BS title.
 

psycros

Posts: 3,572   +4,360
So when can we expect the former owner of the shop to be charged with fabricating evidence, lying to police, filing false charges, etc? Assuming he/she isn't already dead and burning in hell.
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 448   +586
So you lose jobs by failing background checks and you aren't told why? That doesn't seem to make any sense. But one thing is clear, she isn't being charged just now for felony embezzlement, she has had a felony embezzlement charge on her for 20 years unaddressed. Not the same thing. Usual click bait BS title.
In America, the only ones with human rights are corporations.

Obviously a joke. Mostly. Sadly.
 

waclark

Posts: 97   +59
In America, the only ones with human rights are corporations.

Obviously a joke. Mostly. Sadly.
Is not returning rented property a human right now? Companies are not able to recover their products when they are not paid for? So I guess when you go to a restaurant it's your right to steal the silverware and glasses?

No, this has nothing to do with human rights. It has everything to do with a customer not returning the rented products in a timely manner.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,669   +4,148
Is not returning rented property a human right now? Companies are not able to recover their products when they are not paid for? So I guess when you go to a restaurant it's your right to steal the silverware and glasses?

No, this has nothing to do with human rights. It has everything to do with a customer not returning the rented products in a timely manner.
Dude, felony embezzlement for failure to return a VHS tape? That's a pretty blatant violation of the constitution. At most the fines should have topped up at 2x or 3x the cost of the tape, which is WAY below felony level. And embezzlement instead of theft?

The charge is total bogus, and placing bogus charges on people for basic crimes, ruining their lives in the process, is considered a rights violation by most people.
 
Is not returning rented property a human right now? Companies are not able to recover their products when they are not paid for? So I guess when you go to a restaurant it's your right to steal the silverware and glasses?

No, this has nothing to do with human rights. It has everything to do with a customer not returning the rented products in a timely manner.
Although, how is someone supposed to fix/pay restitution for something they don't know about?
It sounds like she was charged in a different state, and never informed.
 

waclark

Posts: 97   +59
Dude, felony embezzlement for failure to return a VHS tape? That's a pretty blatant violation of the constitution. At most the fines should have topped up at 2x or 3x the cost of the tape, which is WAY below felony level. And embezzlement instead of theft?

The charge is total bogus, and placing bogus charges on people for basic crimes, ruining their lives in the process, is considered a rights violation by most people.
How is it a "blatant" violation of the Constitution? I am guessing, as the article is vague, that what makes it a felony is the amount of money the business is claiming it lost. This is likely due to late fees charged for not returning on time. If you keep the rental beyond the agreed term shouldn't the business be able to recover lost revenue and the cost of the tape as a result?

Remember that this was many years ago and the fees probably were far more than 2-3x the cost of the tape. A quick Google search shows that you only need $500 in fees to be in felony territory.

In the case, I would say the charge is not bogus. A tape was rented and not returned. Whether that tape was legitimately rented on her account may be a question but she didn't seem to dispute that, exactly. She indicated maybe someone she knew used her account for the rental.

And the article also makes a huge leap in suggesting her work history is somehow related to this. You generally don't get "let go" from a job because they did a background check on you. That usually happens when you apply for a job and if there is a negative outcome they will usually tell you what it was. I've had that in several cases, where someone with a similar name had criminal charges or convictions and I was able to demonstrate it wasn't me. She said she got let go with no explanation, in several cases. That seems to indicate that she had an issue of some sort, very likely not related to the tapes at all.
 

waclark

Posts: 97   +59
Although, how is someone supposed to fix/pay restitution for something they don't know about?
It sounds like she was charged in a different state, and never informed.
Well, there are processes for that. First the article didn't mention whether the rental company bothered trying to contact her. From personal experience Blockbuster always called or mailed me if I was late returning tapes or DVDs.

If you move, the post office will forward mail to you if you fill out a form. Most people usually do that, unless they are trying to hide from their creditors. Even then the USPS may be able to track you down and forward mail.

If your phone number is cellular, which many companies ask for, in addition to your home land line, it will follow you no matter where you live. If you're not returning calls or listening to voice mail, whose fault is that?

I would turn the question around and ask you this. If the company, after repeated attempts to contact the renter, gets no response shouldn't they have the option to file charges against the renter who didn't return their tapes? After all, they are losing money on rentals by not having the tape to rent. And they'll have to replace it, assuming they can even get a replacement. While I'm speculating, I would think the business let the charges run up to a point where they turned it over to collections and maybe filed charges at that time so that they would have a legal position to recover their cost should they be able to track down the woman.
 

brucek

Posts: 870   +1,267
If you stop paying for your million dollar house, that's not a felony. It's a civil matter that after eventual due process can result in foreclosure.

I don't see any justification for how a dispute over a $60 tape or late fees related to it could reach the level needed for felony categorization; nor how this is a criminal vs civil matter; nor how if it is criminal, how the due process could be so shoddy as to not require proof that it was specifically her who took the tape (which I see in other articles she disputes.)

In general in the US non-payment of bills is not a criminal matter. We have collections agencies and credit bureaus and civil processes for all that.

Edit: one more objection, we have laws regulating maximum interest, I don't see how the rental company can turn a $60 loan into an over $500 felony threshold without themselves running into criminal violations for usury (loan sharking.)
 
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waclark

Posts: 97   +59
If you stop paying for your million dollar house, that's not a felony. It's a civil matter that after eventual due process can result in foreclosure.

I don't see any justification for how a dispute over a $60 tape or late fees related to it could reach the level needed for felony categorization; nor how this is a criminal vs civil matter; nor how if it is criminal, how the due process could be so shoddy as to not require proof that it was specifically her who took the tape (which I see in other articles she disputes.)

In general in the US non-payment of bills is not a criminal matter. We have collections agencies and credit bureaus and civil processes for all that.

Edit: one more objection, we have laws regulating maximum interest, I don't see how the rental company can turn a $60 loan into an over $500 felony threshold without themselves running into criminal violations for usury (loan sharking.)
Because your mortgage company has a legal right to evict you for non-payment. Once that happens you might be arrested for trespassing if you do not vacate the premises.

As for the values, if you consider potential lost rental revenue over a period of a couple of years or more and you could be approaching the $500 threshold for felonies in OK.

I looked up criminal embezzlement in Oklahoma and found this site. I think the possible angle here was the taking and not returning the tape. That was the misappropriation of property.

 

duckofdeath

Posts: 448   +586
Is not returning rented property a human right now? Companies are not able to recover their products when they are not paid for? So I guess when you go to a restaurant it's your right to steal the silverware and glasses?

No, this has nothing to do with human rights. It has everything to do with a customer not returning the rented products in a timely manner.
The issue here was obviously that the corporations just kept sacking her without having an obligation to let her know why.
 

waclark

Posts: 97   +59
The issue here was obviously that the corporations just kept sacking her without having an obligation to let her know why.
Why would they be obligated to do that? Are you obligated to tell them why you quit? Of course we don't have any rebuttal from these alleged corporations. Do we really know that they didn't tell her? I don't know of any companies that I have worked for, several are Fortune 500 companies, that do background checks after you're employed. It's always prior, if at all.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 484   +372
Helps if you are a white preppy teen from a rich family in a yankee state- underage drinking - no problem, drug use including class A - no problem . Had nonconsensual sex with that 16 comatose on the bed - No problem . Police will take you home to your folks - The polices fund will get a nice bonus . Smiles all around.
Every country has this to some extent - does the crown/govt prosecute ? etc
Even it they try to be fair - money for lawyers and appeals go along way . Especially if police or judicial mistakes made . If poor in Louisiana OJ - would not even be up for parole- he might not have made it to the holding cells
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,837   +792
Embezzlement? Not what I'm imagining for failure to return rental property. If I'm not mistaken, there's insurance for this. Just saying. Not the same as looting. Now if the person was a serial non-returner in some organized effort, then I might could along with the charge. How many tapes did she have?
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 448   +586
Your comment is funny though. If that was the case, corporations wouldn't have banded together to get Trump kicked out of office.
So, because they had zero scruples in 2015 means they can't be the same corporations in 2020? Zuckerberg, for instance, changed his mind as late as early 2020. Before then, he was actively spreading the same FUD you and your likes do. That's all on video, him saying he'd stop at nothing to get Trump re-elected, because of the Democrat's tax policies.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,871   +3,751
TechSpot Elite
So, because they had zero scruples in 2015 means they can't be the same corporations in 2020? Zuckerberg, for instance, changed his mind as late as early 2020. Before then, he was actively spreading the same FUD you and your likes do. That's all on video, him saying he'd stop at nothing to get Trump re-elected, because of the Democrat's tax policies.
You mean the one where they are raising the corporate tax? It has nothing to do with tax policies, trump was genuinely hated because of what kind of person he was.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 616   +388
So you lose jobs by failing background checks and you aren't told why? That doesn't seem to make any sense. But one thing is clear, she isn't being charged just now for felony embezzlement, she has had a felony embezzlement charge on her for 20 years unaddressed. Not the same thing. Usual click bait BS title.
There's also this thing called statue of limitations. Even if charged with a crime, if the filing doesn't result in a judgement the statute limit takes effect, at least where I live.