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University of Florida

Firm that teaches 'life skills' to suspected shoplifters extorts them, suit alleges

Firm that teaches 'life skills' to suspected shoplifters extorts them, suit alleges

Debra Black insists she is “not a thief.”

She says she rolled her electric wheelchair out of the Goodwill Industries store in Tustin after inadvertently neglecting to pay for a few items. The pack of purple napkins, headband and small purse came to $6.97.

But once a security guard stopped her that day in March 2013, things got heated. Black, 64, said she was frightened into signing a confession and agreeing to complete a six-hour “life skills” course and pay a Utah company $500.

When Black did not pay, she received multiple calls and letters from Corrective Education Co., including this final warning: “Contact us immediately to prevent the...

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