When most people think of fraud and embezzlement, they probably picture something out of the movies or a multi-million dollar scheme involving major corporations. In reality, these types of financial crimes can happen anywhere, and may even involve relatively small sums of money.
Being charged with fraud or embezzlement can be both embarrassing and scary. Depending on the amount of money involved, you could be facing serious jail time and hefty fines and fees. A Traverse City fraud lawyer can put together an aggressive strategy to protect your rights – and your freedom.
Call us now to discuss your case: (231) 714-4128
At Mas/Stig-Nielsen, we utilize smart criminal defense to achieve the best possible result for you based on the situation. Our attorneys have seen it all when it comes to white-collar crimes like fraud and embezzlement. We’ll analyze your situation and develop a proactive strategy that helps you achieve a favorable outcome.
Michigan Embezzlement, Fraud, and Financial Crime Charges
Financial crimes and other crimes can be painfully simple or extremely complex. For example, a trustee of a vulnerable adult may do a poor job keeping track of expenses, and be accused of abusing their position for their own financial gain. Alternatively, a corporate executive may engage in protracted fraudulent activity involving multiple shell companies, years of forged records and doctored receipts.
In either scenario, the way in which your attorney approaches your case will have a great impact on the outcome. Our law firm represents clients charged with all types of fraud, embezzlement, and related financial crimes charges in Traverse City, MI, including:
- Bank fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Securities fraud
- Healthcare fraud
- Social Security fraud
- Identity theft
- Tax fraud
- Money laundering
For any of these offenses, it is critical to retain an attorney as soon as possible after learning of an investigation or pending criminal charges. A skilled Traverse City embezzlement lawyer can use a range of investigative and legal techniques to potentially avoid charges being filed.
More complex types of financial crimes, such as fraud, embezzlement by a trustee, and vulnerable adult crimes, in which a person is accused of abusing their position for financial gain, as well as those alleging criminal enterprise or other ‘grander’ schemes, require in-depth analysis and organization of all the evidence that negates the criminal aspects of the accusations. Oftentimes the authorities do not understand why the trustee, guardian or caregiver acted the way that they did or spent the money in a certain way, simply because they don’t understand what it takes to fulfill these duties.
If you have been charged with a fraud or embezzlement crime, you need white-collar criminal defense attorneys that can help you set the record straight and defend your actions. Our law firm is well-equipped to handle these types of criminal matters, with a sophisticated understanding of the laws, regulations, and financial systems that underlie these types of charges.
Criminal Penalties for Embezzlement and Fraud Charges in Michigan
If you are charged with a financial crime, such as embezzlement or fraud, then you may be facing serious jail time if convicted. Each of these crimes requires the prosecution to prove different elements. If you are convicted or plead guilty, the penalty will typically be tied to the amount of money involved.
For example, Michigan law defines embezzlement as a person in a position of trust fraudulently disposing of or converting property of another person or entity without their consent. It may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor based on the value of the money or property that was embezzled and the identity of the victim. The state can charge a person with embezzlement even if the value of property or money was taken is less than $200.
For a misdemeanor embezzlement charge, the punishment may include anywhere from 93 days to one year in jail, and/or a fine of or up to 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled. A felony embezzlement conviction may result in jail time of anywhere from 5 to 20 years in jail, and/or a fine of up to 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled.
Michigan has a number of different offenses related to fraud. For example, “false pretenses” fraud may be charged when a person essentially tricks another person into conveying money or property to them in some way. As with embezzlement, this type of fraud may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the property or money involved, with harsher penalties for crimes involving higher amounts.
Any type of financial criminal offense in Michigan has the potential to lead to significant criminal penalties, including a lengthy term of imprisonment. There are a number of potential defenses to these charges, based on the specific facts of your case. Our law firm will advocate for you, working hard to help you get the best possible outcome.
What Is an Embezzlement Charge in Michigan?
A person may be charged with embezzlement in Michigan if they are suspected of stealing or trying to steal money or property that was entrusted to them. For example, a clerk at a local business may steal company funds, and then create fake invoices for services never rendered to hide the theft. Alternatively, an employee may overcharge customers and then pocket the difference.
While embezzlement can happen in any number of ways, the key difference between it and other types of theft is that the person who took the money or property had legal access to it. If you have been charged with this type of crime, you will need a highly skilled Traverse City embezzlement lawyer to defend you. Contact Mas/Stig-Nielsen today to schedule a consultation.
How Long Are Embezzlement Sentences in Michigan If Found Guilty?
The length of an embezzlement sentence in Michigan depends on the value of the property involved, and other factors as follows:
- $200 or less (misdemeanor): up to 93 days in jail
- $200 to $1,000, or under $200 from a nonprofit, or under $200 with a previous embezzlement conviction (misdemeanor): up to 1 year in jail
- $1,000 to $20,000, or between $200 and $1,000 from a nonprofit, or with a previous embezzlement conviction (felony): up to 5 years in prison
- $20,000 to $50,000, or between $1,000 and $2,000 from a nonprofit, or with a previous embezzlement conviction (felony): up to 10 years in prison
- $50,000 to $100,000, or between $20,000 and $50,000 from a nonprofit, or with a previous embezzlement conviction (felony): up to 15 years in prison
- More than $100,000 (felony): up to 20 years in prison
In addition to jail or prison time, if you are convicted of embezzlement, you will be required to pay a minimum fine of $500 to $50,000, or up to 3 times the value of the property taken (whichever is greater). If you have been charged with embezzlement, contact our law firm to talk to a Traverse City white-collar attorney.
Is Fraud a Federal or Michigan State Crime?
A crime involving fraud may be charged by either the federal government or by the state of Michigan. It will typically be charged by the feds if it involves a federal government program, service, or agency. For example, securities fraud, Medicaid and Medicare fraud, and mail or wire fraud are typically prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office instead of a local district attorney.
However, there are a number of fraud cases that are brought by the state of Michigan, such as those involving defrauding an elderly person out of their money or property. Any type of fraud charge can lead to significant jail or prison time and fines. Contact Mas/Stig-Nielsen today to talk to a Traverse City fraud embezzlement defense lawyer about your case.
Charged with Fraud or Embezzlement? Give Us a Call.
At Mas/Stig-Nielsen, we have seen it all and then some. We’ve seen families depleted by overseas schemers that convinced happily married women to steal from everyone they knew. We’ve seen business owners with such unskilled accounting practices that the government thought them to be criminal masterminds, and we’ve seen everything in between.
Let our Michigan embezzlement attorneys help you find the truth in your financial crime case, be it through trial or treatment so that you are able to move forward in your life. If you are facing fraud, embezzlement, or any other type of white-collar criminal charge, our law firm is here to help. Give us a call at 231-714-4128. to schedule a consultation with a larceny and theft attorney in Traverse City, Michigan.