I plead guilty to a misdemeanor in 2010 (shoplifting). Generally 7 years is enough for the misdemeanor to fall off the record and not show up on typical background checks. I recently applied for a position at a financial institution. Apparently the law was changed in 2012 so background checks covers your entire life.

My question is: My crime did not involve a value over $2500, I did no jail time, and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service. So am I eligible for this position, or is my background going to disqualify me?

Side note: I reside in the US.

  • Was your shoplifting a felony (>$500+) or misdemeanor (<$500)? Have you had the charge expunged from your record? – sleddog Mar 21 '17 at 20:31
  • It was a misdemeanor. Approximately $15. I have not had it expunged. – Ingenioushax Mar 21 '17 at 20:46
  • VTC - This would be company-specific. A background check is to learn/confirm the truth. What makes you ineligible is up to the hiring company. – Wesley Long Mar 21 '17 at 22:11
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    @Ingenioushax It may put you out of the running for this current job, but misdemeanors can be expunged after 5 years. Not 100% on the process, but it can be done in some cases. Yours may fit the criteria. You should definitely look into it before further job searching. – sleddog Mar 22 '17 at 12:39

IANAL, but it seems that a lot of financial institutions look for criminal record, period, and disqualify if there are convictions on crimes involving "dishonesty" or "breach of trust."

From this source:

"Dishonesty" is defined as "directly or indirectly to cheat or defraud; to cheat or defraud for monetary gain or its equivalent; or wrongfully to take property lawfully belonging to another in violation of any criminal statute.

"Breach of trust" is defined as "a wrongful act, use, misappropriation, or omission with respect to any property or fund which has been committed to a person in a fiduciary or official capacity, or the misuse of one's official or fiduciary position to engage in a wrongful act, misappropriation or omission."

Again, IANAL, but shoplifting sounds like it qualifies as "dishonesty." Depending on whether or not it was felony or misdemeanor shoplifting, you may have more or less luck getting that by. Bank on the background check picking it up, and be prepared to address it.

If you haven't already (and it's a misdemeanor), look into getting the conviction expunged from your record.

Good luck.


This very much depends on the institution, so is a very specific question. It is possible that one institution will set their standards higher than the accepted "normal" of the industry. Some consider shoplifting a crime of moral turpitude and therefore won't hire you regardless of the amounts or time since commission of the crime.

  • It's a credit card company and I will be doing software development. – Ingenioushax Mar 21 '17 at 20:28
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    Again, this is dependent on the employer. Not the industry, but the actual, specific company. CapitalOne and CitiBank might have radically different hiring practices and standards. – SliderBlackrose Mar 21 '17 at 20:29

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