A former Mrs. America was convicted of felony theft for switching price tags on clothes at a Macy’s department store in Southdale, Minnesota.
According to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, a jury found Jennifer Susan Kline guilty of a single felony count of theft by swindle Tuesday evening after a seven-day trial. The jury determined that the amount of the theft was more than $1,000 but less than $5,000.
Kline’s attorney argued to the jury that his client made a dumb mistake but that it was Macy’s fault for having such an easy return policy.
Kline, who was crowned Mrs. America in 1989, could face up to five years in prison when she’s sentenced on Oct. 18.
On Nov. 5, 2015, the 51-year-old Wayzata native purchased $2,884 worth of designer clothing from Southdale Macy’s. The following day, she purchased $2,907 worth of merchandise at the same Macy’s.
Then on Nov. 11 and Nov. 30, Kline allegedly removed the tags from the items and attached them to clothing she already owned before she returned multiple pieces of clothing to Macy’s Mall of America store and was refunded $5,501.
A Macy’s detective was told about the returns, and upon examining the clothes he discovered that “the tags and labels had been switched on all of the clothing items returned,” according to a criminal complaint filed in April 2016.
The complaint also stated that “several of the clothing items returned to Macy’s were dirty and showed signs of wear. Due to the label switching, it is not possible to identify the original brand of the item or the store from which the item was originally purchased.”
“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,” Hennepin county attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.
Following her reign as Mrs. America, Kline sold beauty products for the Eden Prairie-based ShopNBC network, now-called Evine.