Former Mrs. America sentenced to probation in theft case

Friday, October 20, 2017

A former Mrs. America convicted of switching price tags on clothes was sentenced to two years on probation and 10 days of community service, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Lisa Janzen also gave Jennifer Kline, 51, of Wayzata, a stay of imposition on the sentence, meaning that if Kline completes her probation, the felony charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor on her record.

During Wednesday’s sentencing, Assistant Hennepin County attorney Allison Ethen argued for three years on probation and some combination of time in the county workhouse and community service hours that would total 60 days.

Judge Janzen noted that Kline’s crime was sophisticated, required planning and occurred numerous times. However, the judge took note of Kline’s arguments for a lighter sentence because she had gone through a divorce, was raising the couple’s children and she suffered from attention deficit disorder.

A Hennepin County District Court jury took less than three hours to convict Kline in August of the single felony count of theft by swindle. The jury determined that the amount of the theft was more than $1,000 but less than $5,000.  

Kline was crowned Mrs. America in 1989 and also was a television host on ShopNBC/Evine Live.

The scheme, as outlined in the criminal complaint and during the seven-day trial, involved Kline buying numerous expensive items of clothing at the Southdale Macy’s. She would take them home and then take the price tags from the new clothes and attach them to other clothing she already owned. She would then return the clothes with the altered price tags to the Mall of America Macy’s for a large refund on her credit card. Kline admitted she had a supply of plastic tag holders and other equipment to attach the price tags to other clothing items.