Forgery Uttering and Publishing, Check Account Crimes

Business, banking and public offices rely on accurate records and transactions. Forgery, counterfeiting, falsifying documents and financial scams cost billions of dollars to individuals, business and government. Ultimately, the cost for fraudulent activity is passed along to the consumer.

In Michigan, the crimes of uttering & publishing, counterfeiting and forgery are classified as serious felonies. Possession of 5 or more counterfeit coins or currency can carry up to life in prison. Under certain circumstances, these crimes can also be prosecuted in the Federal Courts. The oddly named crime, uttering & publishing, is consistently one of the most prevalent felony crimes that is charged in Macomb County as well as other jurisdictions within Michigan.

When it comes to financial crimes, ABDO LAW has the experience and results on its side. Our Macomb County Criminal defense lawyers have handled well over 10,000 cases since 1980 and we know how to get a case under control in the early stages to:

  • Avoid a felony conviction by negotiating a reduction to a minor misdemeanor.
  • Obtain a delayed sentence or HYTA disposition for youthful offenders.
  • Avoid jail.
  • Negotiating restitution or a payment plan.
Uttering and Publishing

Pursuant to Michigan law, MCL 750.249, the crime of uttering and publishing, is punishable by up to 14 years in prison and states as follows:

A person who utters and publishes as true a false, forged, altered, or counterfeit record, instrument, or other writing, knowing it to be false, altered, forged, or counterfeit with intent to injure or defraud is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 14 years.

In our experience, the vast majority of uttering & publishing crimes involve checks drawn against a financial institution which are fraudulent or forged and presented with an intent to defraud.

Forgery

The crime of forgery differs from uttering & publishing because the crime of forgery does not require presentation of the check or instrument for payment, only the act of falsifying an instrument. The penalty for forgery can range from 7 to 14 years in prison depending upon the circumstances. Forgery of bank bills and promissory notes is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 7 years pursuant to MCL 750.251.

Check Crimes/NSF or Closed Account

Insufficient Funds: Pursuant to MCL 750.131, a person who writes an insufficient funds (NSF) check can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. The following activity constitutes a felony carries up to 2 years in prison:

  • The amount of the check is $500.00 or more.
  • For an offense following 2 or more prior convictions under this section.
  • Making or delivering 3 or more checks within a 10 day period and the maker does not have sufficient funds or credit.

No Account Check: Pursuant to MCL 750.131a, a person who writes a check against a closed account with an intent to defraud faces felony criminal prosecution in Michigan. The offense of drawing a check against a bank without an account is a felony punishable by up to 2 years in prison.

Counterfeiting

Counterfeiting or possession of fake coins or currency is a felony. The extent of punishment will depend upon the number of coins or notes in the possession of the offender (MCL 750.261):

  • Counterfeiting or possession of 5 or more coins/currency Up to life in prison
  • Counterfeiting or possession less than 5 coins/currency Up to 10 years in prison
Financial Transaction Device Crimes (Credit/Debit Card Fraud)

Pursuant to the Michigan Penal Code, credit cards, debit cards and gift cards are all considered financial transaction devices. All financial transaction device crimes are classified as felonies which can carry up to 4 years in prison. Knowingly possessing or using the financial device of another, or a fraudulent financial device, constitutes a felony.

ABDO LAW has extensive experience and a proven track record handling every type of financial crime, including embezzlement, fraud, identity theft and false pretenses. Developing a plan to handle a financial crime will include payment of restitution to any victims that have suffered losses. In addition, our firm may proactively recommend counseling for individuals that have underlying psychological disorders. In most cases, we are able to formulate a strategy before the case is entered into the court system. By working a case from every angle, we find opportunities to get dismissals for eligible offenders, obtain plea bargains to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor and/or avoid jail. Our success also includes agreements in the pre-charge stages to avoid any prosecution by entering into an agreement for repayment.

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 professional and client ratings.

Matthew S. Abdo, Super Lawyer, Top Ranked Criminal Defense Lawyer

Cy M. Abdo, Martindale Hubbell, highest possible rating for integrity and legal ability

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