A former Mrs. America convicted of switching price tags on clothes was sentenced Wednesday to two years of probation and 10 days of community service, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Friday.
In August, a Hennepin County District Court jury took less than three hours to convict Jennifer Kline, 51, of Wayzata, of the single felony count of theft by swindle.
The scheme, according to court documents, involved Kline buying clothes from the Southdale Macy’s store, taking them home and attaching price tags from the new clothes onto clothing she already owned. She would then return the old clothes to a new Macy’s store for a large refund on her credit card.
On Wednesday during sentencing, Hennepin County District Judge Lisa Janzen said if Kline completes her probation, the felony charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor on her record.
During sentencing, assistant county attorney Allison Ethen argued for three years of probation and some combination of time in the county workhouse and community service hours that would total 60 days.
Janzen said Kline’s crime was “sophisticated, required planning and occurred numerous times,” according to the news release. 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.”
During the trial, the jury determined the amount of the theft was more than $1,000 but less than $5,000. Kline had admitted she had a supply of plastic tag holders and the equipment to attach the tags to clothing. Her attorney argued Kline made a dumb mistake but that it was Macy’s fault for having such an easy return policy.
Kline was named Mrs. America in 1989 and she had been a host on ShopNBC/EVINE Live.