Embezzlement & False Pretenses

The Michigan Penal Code lists several non-violent theft related crimes including: embezzlement, false pretenses, larceny, credit card fraud, insurance fraud, retail fraud, larceny in a building and receiving/concealing stolen property. These crimes are often referred to as economic crimes. There crimes also fall under the category of “property crimes” within the Michigan Sentence Guidelines. There are fine distinctions between economic crimes such as embezzlement and false pretenses:

Embezzlement is a crime whereby the offender is entrusted with the property or money of another person or business entity and misappropriates it without the consent of the owner/employer. For example: An employee that is involved in taking goods from the warehouse, taking money from the cash register, falsifying returns, improperly applying charge credits, or working a scanner to allow outsiders to defeat payment are all examples of embezzlement.

False pretenses is a close cousin to the crime of embezzlement. False pretenses involves an intent to obtain property or money by means of fraud or misrepresentation. For example: False pretenses occur in situations when a salesperson/contractor promises to provide specified goods or services, receives payment, but intentionally fails to deliver on the promise.

Larceny involves the taking of property of another with the intent to deprive the owner of the same. Larceny does not require a relationship of trust (embezzlement) and does not involve an act of fraud or misrepresentation (false pretenses).

Embezzlement, False Pretenses Penalties

The penalty for embezzlement, false pretenses or larceny in Michigan depends upon the value of the property or money taken. Embezzlement or false pretenses may involve a single incident or a series of incidents over a period of time. In the discretion of the prosecutor, separate incidents may be pursued as multiple criminal offenses or aggregated (added together) to support a single more serious charge. Charges are escalated to a felony when the claimed loss is $1,000.00 or more.

Embezzlement and False Pretenses
Value of Property Taken/MisappropriatedMaximum Imprisonment, Fines
Under $20093 days and/or $500 fine
$200 but less than $1,0001 year and/or $2,000 fine
$1,000 but less than $20,0005 years and/or $10,000 fine
$20,000 but less than $50,00010 years and/or $15,000 fine
$50,000 but less than $100,00015 years and/or $25,000 fine
$100,000 or greater20 years and/or $50,000 fine

Triple penalty, restitution: In addition to possible incarceration, all economic crimes in Michigan (larceny, embezzlement, false pretenses), including those against a vulnerable adult, can carry a financial penalty of up to 3x the amount of money or property obtained by the offender. In addition, the court can order payment of restitution to any victim for losses attributed to the conduct of the offender. Losses may also include accounting costs which are attributed to the economic crime. Restitution may also include reimbursement to third parties such as insurance companies.

Law enforcement tactics, talking to the police

Economic crimes such as embezzlement will usually involve a paper trail. Law enforcement officers prefer to get a detailed confession from the accused party rather than sift through voluminous complex financial documentation.

Retaining a criminal defense lawyer should be your first priority if you are the subject of a criminal investigation for an economic crime or any other criminal matter. Law enforcement officers follow a similar pattern in the way that they investigate a person accused of an economic crime. Once the police have gathered evidence, they will attempt to get a statement from the accused party. The police invariably expect the accused party to deny any wrongdoing. However, the police will use an interview, or interrogation, as an opportunity to establish pertinent facts and a timeline that may be incriminating in future proceedings. Following an interview, the accused will be asked to submit to a polygraph examination. Watch this You Tube video, which has had over 6,000,000 views, for an excellent source of information regarding one’s right to remain silent.

Faced with Embezzlement or False Pretense Accusations?

ABDO LAW attorneys are criminal law specialists with experience handling over 10,000 cases for adults, youthful offenders and juveniles since 1980. We are among the most respected criminal law firms in Michigan. Here is just a sample of case results for clients facing serious embezzlement or false pretenses charges:

  • Macomb County Circuit Court, felony embezzlement over $300,000.00
    Result: 20 year felony reduced, client placed on probation, no jail

  • Warren, felony embezzlement from school band, $20.000.00:
    Result: Reduced to a misdemeanor, no probation

  • Harper Woods, embezzlement by a client under age 21
    Result: Taken under advisement pursuant to HYTA, dismissed upon compliance

  • Sterling Heights, felony false pretenses, felony, maximum penalty of 5 years in prison
    Result: Reduced to a misdemeanor, no probation, no probation

  • Eastpointe, 2 counts of felony embezzlement
    Result: Reduced to misdemeanor, taken under advised and dismissed in 12 months

Legal entanglements are often manageable. All it takes is one phone call to get answers to your most pressing legal questions and immediate attention to your legal problem by attorneys with the highest legal ratings. Contact the ABDO LAW FIRM for comprehensive legal representation if you are the subject of a criminal investigation or charged with any misdemeanor or felony in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne or St. Clair County.