Former Mrs. America guilty of price tag switching fraud
A Hennepin County District Court jury took less than three hours to find former Mrs. America Jennifer Kline guilty of theft by swindle for switching price tags on clothes she purchased from Macy’s, Hennepin county Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.
The jury found Kline, 51, of Wayzata, guilty of the single felony count of theft by swindle Tuesday afternoon and they determined that the amount of the theft was more than $1,000 but less than $5,000. Sentencing was set for Oct. 18.
“We appreciate the fine work of the jury, which agreed with the good work of the Edina police and our prosecutors,” Freeman said. “This little scheme of Ms. Kline’s was wrong and it was clearly driven by greed. The jurors were not fooled by attempts to blame Macy’s and their liberal return policy for her criminal conduct.”
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.
Kline’s attorney argued to the jury that Kline made a dumb mistake but that it was Macy’s fault for having such an easy return policy.