The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft & Spending

          October 2008 e-Newsletter

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Fall 2008 Conference on Compulsive Theft & Spending took place Saturday September 27, 2008 in Detroit! If you missed it, it's available on DVD for $100 (includes S/H)!
Order from
or contact us directly at 248-358-8508


"Conference Report"


Terrence Daryl Shulman


The 2nd International Conference on Compulsive Theft & Spending recently took place in Detroit, Michigan Saturday September 27, 2008. The conference was organized and presented by Terrence Shulman of The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft & Spending. Mr. Shulman had previously organized and presented at The First International Conference on Theft Addictions and Disorders in Detroit in Fall 2005.

The recent conference was a rare and timely offering on the subjects of shoplifting, employee theft, and compulsive shopping and spending. Attendees from across the U.S. and Canada included mental health professionals, financial advisors, and recovering persons.

Mr. Shulman presented video clips on these topics as well as power point presentations. There was also a panel of two local men in recovery--one from shoplifting and the other from compulsive shopping/spending and employee theft. There was ample time throughout the conference for questions and discussion.

The intent of the conference was to educate and connect people from various locations and backgrounds and to explore how shoplifting, employee theft and compulsive shopping/spending affect us all. In this respect, the conference was a success. We had hoped to see a presence at the conference from the retailers/corporations (store or company owners/managers and/or loss prevention personnel), and the legal system (judges, prosecutors, attorneys, and/or probation officers) It seems important that they be involved in understanding these phenomena to assist in prevention and treatment where possible.

With theft and debt issues on the rise (see article below), the conference presented an opportunity to discuss the bigger picture about why these problems are occuring and what can be done to reduce them. Themes emerged calling for simplicity and a return to good core values such as honesty and an attitude of appreciation and gratitude for what is essentially most important in life--not merely money, things and keeping up with the Joneses.

It is uncertain whether a similar conference will be held in the future. Time will tell.



In the wake of the recent financial crises involving the mortgage, investment banking, and insurance industries, all eyes are on the upcoming presidential election. Consumer and investment confidence is teetering in the balance. With talk of Gordon Gekko greed, excess, and downright malfeasance, there's more gloomy news around the bend. Just-released statistics from the 20th Annual Retail Theft Survey by Jack Hayes International, Inc. indicate that, during 2007, both shoplifting and employee theft rose sharply. This news documents a trend that has been growing and, likely, will continue through this year and next.

The 2007 study estimates that there are nearly 300 million shoplifting incidents per year, costing retailers about $15 Billion. 626,314 shoplifters were apprehended from 24 of the largest retailers in America, up 9.16% from 2006—no mention of the ones that got away. For every $1.00 recovered from retail theft, $37.43 is lost (that's a 2.67% recovery rate).

The study cited several reasons for the increase in shoplifting: poor economy, increase in organized theft rings, ease of selling stolen merchandise on the street and the Internet, escalation of fraudulent returns, a reduction in sales floor staff and loss prevention and customer service personnel, a decrease in honesty in our society, and a growing perception that shoplifting is a "victimless crime." As shoplifting—and retailers' losses—increase, the price of goods increases and, in return, so does shoplifting. It's a vicious cycle.

The 2007 stats on employee theft, which the FBI calls "the fastest growing crime in America," are no less startling. One in every 28.2 employees was apprehended for stealing from an employer. 82,648 employees were apprehended from 24 of the largest retailers in America, up 17.57% from 2006, costing these retailers over $22 Billion.

The study cited several reasons for the increase in employee theft: poor economy reduction in employee supervision, relaxed hiring standards and pre-employment screening, and increase in part-time vs. full-time employees (less loyalty), and a decrease in honesty in our society. The study did not note, specifically, the increased stress of having to work for less money and benefits and the decrease in overall job security. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75% of employees steal from work and that 30% of corporate bankruptcies are a direct result of employee theft. As work becomes scare and lower-paying, stealing increases which results in less work. Again, a vicious cycle ensues.

Now, some of this stealing is just plain greed and thievery. But research shows that most people are otherwise honest and hard-working but reach a point where they start to lose faith in the fairness of the system. This is not meant as an excuse but it is a reality we must deal with. Another trend which is fueling our societal financial dysfunction is a growing preoccupation and, yes, addiction to shopping and spending. Keeping up with the Joneses is an endless endeavor.

In 2006, Stanford University completed a landmark study which estimated that nearly 17 million Americans (6% of the population) are compulsive "buyers." Men and women suffer from this affliction about equally. This is a conservative estimate. Many millions more may not have crossed over the line "yet" but are on the way there. An obsession with things leads many into the stores to shop and, eventually, shoplift. Many people steal from work to get money or things to ease their debts and burdens. Again, this is not an excuse but a reality.

With the holiday shopping season just around the corner, we will be seduced again to "shop till we drop." While retailers rely on us to throw our hard-earned money (read: credit) their way, most of us will have to make some crucial decisions about our values and our lifestyles.

This will be either the best of times or the worst of times. Or both.


                            CASA Detroit celebrated 16th Anniversary September 10th!

C.A.S.A. (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous)--metro Detroit chapter recently celebrated its 16th anniversary on September 10th. Founded in 1992 by Mr. Shulman to help himself and others gain recovery from addictive-compulsive stealing, the group has seen approximately 2,000 (two thousand) members in its history (including three other more recently started local chapters). The flagship meeting averages 20 members per weekly meeting and is the longest-running current group of its kind in the country.

The C.A.S.A. group also has an online group started in the year 2000 by Mr. Shulman which currently has nearly 200 (two hundred) members from across the world. The C.A.S.A. groups have inspired approximately 10 groups to form over the last decade (in California, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington state). On the sad side, at least 5 groups have recently folded, including those in Sacramento, Minneapolis, Houston, Omaha, and San Francisco.

However, free phone conference groups have launched in this last year which are open to all.

It is hoped that more groups--live, online and by phone--start-up to provide safe, effective environments for people to heal.

As we head into 2009, it will take a continued combination of grassroots, academic, therapeutic and media interest to expand the education and treatment of compulsive theft and spending. We hope more can play a role in this important and urgent endeavor.



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Fall2008 Conference on Compulsive Theft & Spending took place Saturday September 27, 2008 in Detroit! If you missed it, it's available on 6 hours of DVD for $100 (includes S/H)! to order or contact us directly at 248-358-8508.


September 7--MSNBC ran first segment of its month-long series "Theft in America." This first segment focused on organized retail crime and shoplifting rings as well as the loss prevention industry. The next segment will focus more on the addiction and treatment aspects of stealing.

Septmeber 21--Mr. Shulman appeared on the local Detroit TV news program "Michigan Matters--Street Beat" speaking about compulsive theft and spending and the conference on compulsive theft and spending.

Mr. Shulman continued to assist with CNN on a story about how the faltering economy has led to more people shoplifting out of basic need and necessity.

Mr. Shulman continued to assist with a German-based television segment on addictions--including compulsive theft and spending.

Mr. Shulman continued to assist with an Australia-based television segment on addictions--including compulsive theft and spending. 


Mr. Shulman is working with Women's Entertainment TV's "Secret Lives of Women" series on a compulsive shopping and spending segment.

Mr. Shulman is assisting with a documentary on excess called "American Dream: The Movie"

Mr. Shulman will be featured in a 2009 book on recovery in the USA called "America Anonymous" by Benoit-Denizen Lewis.

Mr. Shulman is working with A & E TV's "Intervention" show on a shoplifting addiction segment.


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Contact The Shulman Center

Terrence Shulman
P.O. Box 250008
Franklin, Michigan 48025


Call (248) 358-8508 for free consulation!

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Products for Purchase--SALE!

Mr. Shulman's 75 Minute DVD Power Point Presentation on Employee Theft at Livonia, Michigan Financial Manager's Conference 10/19/06. $75.00

Mr. Shulman's 75 Minute DVD Power Point Presentation on Employee Theft at Louisville, Kentucky Business in Industry Conference 9/19/07. $75.00

Mr. Shulman's two books "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction & Recovery" and "Biting The Hand That Feeds: The Employee Theft Epidemic... New Perspectives, New Solutions" are availabe for $25.00 each (includes shipping/handling) or both for $45.00 (includes shipping/handling).

Mr. Shulman's 90 minute DVD Power Point presentation for young people: "Theft and Dishonesty Awareness Program." $75.00

Mr. Shulman's 33 minute psycho-educational DVD: "The Disease of Something for Nothing: Shoplifting and Employee Theft." $50.00

First International Conference on Theft Addictions & Disorders 4 DVD set (13 Hours). Recorded 10/05. $125.00


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