Identity Theft

Identity Theft 1

Lansing Michigan Identity Theft Defense Lawyer

Also known as identify fraud, identify theft is felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison and/or $25,000 in fines. It convicted of a subsequent offense for identify theft, the penalty increases to 15 years in prison. It has been one of the fastest rising crimes in America for the last several years. A person is guilty of this offense when they use the personal information of another person or they withhold, conceal, or misrepresent the person’s identify to do one of the following:

  • Obtain money, credit, goods, services, property, medical records or information, vital records, confidential phone records, or employment
  • Any other unlawful act

Affirmative Defenses to Identity Theft

  • The accused was given permission by the person whose personal identifying information was being used (unless the consenting person knows the information used will be for an unlawful act)
  • The accused gave a bona fide gift to the person whose personal identifying information was being used for the benefit or control of or use or consumption by that person
  • The action taken was authorized or required by state law, federal law, rule, regulation, or by court rule or court order
  • The accused acted in lawful pursuit or enforcement of their legal rights, such as an investigation or a crime or audit, collection, investigation, or transfer of a debt, child or spousal support obligation, tax liability, claim, receivable, account, or interest in a receivable or account.

 These are affirmative defenses that the accused can raise. Normally the prosecutor has the sole burden of proving the defendant’s guilty beyond all reasonable doubt and the defendant has no duty to prove or disprove anything. The one rare exception to that is an affirmative defense. If the defendant raises one of the defenses above at trial, the defendant has the burden of proving the defense by a preponderance of the evidence. That is the lowest standard of proof that our legal justice system permits. Think of it as 50.1% sure or a tipping of the scale. It is a much lower standard than the prosecutor’s burden of beyond a reasonable doubt. It is the standard that is applied to litigants in civil cases or small claims.

Personal Identifying Information

This includes a person’s name, address, social security number, tax account information, or any other information that could be used to identify a person or gain access to their financial records.

Other Prohibited Acts

The following are prohibited acts under the Identify Theft Protection Act as well:

  • Send an email, set up a webpage, or use in any other type of communication for the purpose of soliciting personal identifying information
  • Obtain for possess personal identifying information with the intent to use it unlawfully
  • Sell or transfer a person’s personal identifying information
  • Make a false police report of identity theft

 Additionally, under MCL 750.539k it is unlawful to copy or transmit personal identifying information during a financial transaction. This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.

Being charged with identify theft doesn’t prohibit you from being charged with other crimes as well. For example, you could be charged with larceny in addition to identify theft. The penalties for larceny vary depending on the amount stolen and where the larceny took place.

If you have been charged with identify theft, you need an experienced and aggressive advocate on your side. Call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to our Michigan identify theft defense attorney today.

Defending identify theft charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Shiawassee, Jackson, Livingston, Calhoun, Kent, Washtenaw in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, St. Johns, Charlotte, Ithaca, Corunna, Jackson, Brighton, Howell, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor.

 

Embezzlement

Embezzlement

Lansing Michigan White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney

Lansing Embezzlement Defense Attorney

 

Embezzlement is the crime of stealing plus a violation of trust or position. It is when someone has been entrusted to manage or monitor someone else’s property or money and then steals some or all it for his personal gain. The key is that the accused has access to the money or property, not ownership.

 

Penalties

The penalties are based upon the value of the money or property stolen and if the defendant has any prior embezzlement convictions. There are also heightened penalties if the embezzlement occurred for a non-profit organization or if the embezzler held certain positions such as a public official, estate administrator, banker, etc.

 

  • Less than $200—Up to 93 days in jail plus $500 in fines or three times the value of the money or property, whichever is greater

 

If it involved a non-profit or if defendant has one prior conviction—up to one year in jail plus $2,000 in fines or three times the value, whichever is greater

 

  • $200-1,000—Up to one year in jail plus $2,000 in fines or three times the value, whichever is greater

 

If it involved a non-profit or one prior conviction—up to five years in prison plus $10,000 in fines or three times the value, whichever is greater

 

 

  • 1,000-20,000—Up to five years in prison plus $10,000 in fines or three times the value, whichever is greater

 

If it involved a non-profit or one prior conviction—up to 10 years in prison plus $15,000 in fines

 

  • 20,000-50,000—Up to 10 years in prison plus $15,000 in fines or three times the value, whichever is greater

 

  • 50,000-100,000—Up to 15 years in prison plus $25,000 in fines or three times the value, whichever is greater

 

  • 100,000 or greater—Up to 20 years in prison plus $50,000 in fines or three times the value, whichever is greater

 

Public Official, Agent, or Servant

 

Any person that holds public office and in an official capacity embezzles $50 or more, the penalty is up to 10 years in prison plus $5,000 in fines.

 

Administrator, Executor, or Guardian

 

If the defendant is one of the above mentioned positions as part of probate proceeding and embezzles from the estate, the penalty is up to 10 years in prison plus $5,000 in fines. If a person in such capacity was ordered by the court to distribute money or property from the estate and refuses for 60 days or more, they can be charged with embezzlement.

 

Mortgagor, Vendee, or Lessee

 

If someone lends, sells, or leases property and acts outside the scope of their duties with the property, the penalties are the same for embezzlement and is based upon the value.

 

Bank, Deposit, Trust Company, or Credit Union Employee

 

If the defendant is one of the above listed capacities and embezzles money or property entrusted to them, the penalty is up to 20 years in prison.

 

Warehouseman or Forwarder of Property

 

If an employee embezzles money or property from a warehouse or other holding area (including cargo vehicles), the penalty is up to four years in prison plus $5,000 in fines.

Of course, restitution is part of any embezzlement sentence.

 

Common Plan or Scheme

 

If the embezzlement is part of a plan that targets more than one person or entity, the amounts can be aggregated within a 12-month period. If it involves just one person or entity, the amounts can be aggregated with no time limit as to how far back they can go.

 

Embezzlement is a serious offense with costly penalties. They are also complex charges which often involved expert testimony such as forensic accountants. If charged, you need an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney representing you. If you or someone you know has been charged with embezzlement, contact Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan embezzlement defense lawyer.

 

Defending embezzlement and other white collar charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Barry, Jackson, Livingston, Kent, Shiawassee, Washtenaw in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Hastings, Jackson, Brighton, Howell, Grand Rapids, Corunna, Ann Arbor.