White Collar Crime Attorneys | Grand Rapids MI

Embezzlement Lawyers | Fraud Attorneys

The Grand Rapids white collar crime defense attorneys at Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law, pllc, stand ready to defend you against allegations of embezzlement, fraud, and other financial crimes.  Our white collar defense law firm consists of:

  • A Former U.S. Attorney
  • A Former Federal Prosecutor
  • Two Former F.B.I. Special Agents
  • A Former Military (Army) J.A.G. Attorney

Our team of award-winning lawyers are dedicated almost exclusively to criminal law and have handled some of the most complex white collar crime cases in West Michigan.  Our attorneys are experienced working as a team, or individually, to defend you or your organization against allegations of wrongdoing.  When you hire Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law, pllc, you will not only receive advice you can trust, you can rest assured that we will use our unique backgrounds to try and win your case or get your the best possible resolution.

Call now to speak with one of our award-winning attorneys and receive a free case evaluation  (616) 458-5500 or (231) 924-8700.

What is White Collar Crime?  White Collar Crime Defined

White collar crime is a non-violent, financial crime.

Common White Collar Crime Cases

In Michigan, common white collar crimes include:

  • Check fraud
  • Computer fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Failure to pay child support
  • Financial transaction device fraud
  • Fraud
  • Government procurement fraud
  • Health care fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Larceny | Larceny by Conversion
  • Loan fraud
  • Retail Fraud
  • Use of a computer to commit a crime
  • Uttering & publishing
  • Welfare fraud

Embezzlement Law | M.C.L. § 750.174

Under Michigan law, “embezzlement” is a crime as follows:

“A person who as the agent, servant, or employee of another person, governmental entity within this state, or other legal entity or who as the trustee, bailee, or custodian of the property of another person, governmental entity within this state, or other legal entity fraudulently disposes of or converts to his or her own use, or takes or secretes with the intent to convert to his or her own use without the consent of his or her principal, any money or other personal property of his or her principal that has come to that person’s possession or that is under his or her charge or control by virtue of his or her being an agent, servant, employee, trustee, bailee, or custodian, is guilty of embezzlement.”

M.C.L. § 750.174 (available at: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-750-174)

Charged with Embezzlement?  Here are the Elements of Embezzlement and what the Prosecutor Would Have to Prove to Obtain a Conviction

 According to the Michigan Supreme Court’s Model Criminal Jury Instructions, to prove an embezzlement occurred, the prosecutor must prove each of the following six elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt:

First, that the [money / property] belongs to [name principal].

Second, that the defendant had a relationship of trust with [name principal] because the defendant was [define relationship].

Third, that the defendant obtained possession or control of the [money / property] because of this relationship.

Fourth, that the defendant:

[Choose (a), (b), or (c):]

(a)     dishonestly disposed of the [money / property].

(b)    converted the [money / property] to [his / her] own use.

(c)     took or hid the [money / property] with the intent to convert it to [his / her] own use without consent of [name principal].

Fifth, that at the time the defendant did this, [he / she] intended to defraud or cheat [name principal] of some property.

Sixth, that the fair market value of the property or amount of money embezzled was:4

[Choose only one of the following unless instructing on lesser offenses:]

(a)     $20,000 or more.

(b)    $1,000 or more, but less than $20,000.

(c)     $200 or more, but less than $1,000.

(d)    some amount less than $200.

[Use the following paragraph only if applicable:]

[You may add together the value of property or money embezzled in separate incidents if part of a scheme or course of conduct (within a 12-month period)5 when deciding whether the prosecutor has proved the amount required beyond a reasonable doubt.]

Available at:  http://courts.mi.gov/courts/michigansupremecourt/criminal-jury-instructions/pages/default.aspx

Is Embezzlement a Felony or a Misdemeanor?  Embezzlement Penalties

Embezzlement can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the amount of loss amount, the facts of the case, and the accused’s criminal history.

Misdemeanor Embezzlement | Penalties

Embezzlement is a misdemeanor if:

1)        The loss amount is less than $200 (M.C.L. § 750.174(2))

  • punishable by up to 93 days in jail or a fine of not more than $500.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

2)        The loss amount is $200 or more but less than $1,000 (M.C.L. § 750.174(3)(a))

  • punishable by up to 1 year in jail or a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

3)        The loss is amount is less than $200 but the defendant has a prior conviction for embezzling less than $200 (M.C.L. § 750.174(3)(b))

  • punishable by up to 1 year in jail or a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

4)        The loss amount is less than $200, but the victim is a charitable organization (M.C.L. § 750.174(3)(c))

  • punishable by up to 1 year in jail or a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

Felony Embezzlement | Penalties

Embezzlement is a felony if:

1)       The loss amount is $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 (M.C.L. § 750.174(4)(a))

  • punishable by up to 5 years in jail or a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

2)       The loss amount is $200 or more more but less than $1,000 and the person has a prior embezzlement conviction for embezzling $200 to $1,000 or more, or a  (convictions for attempt to embezzle less than $200 do not count) (M.C.L. § 750.174(4)(b))

  • punishable by up to 5 years in jail or a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

3)       A charitable organization was the victim and the accused has a prior qualifying embezzlement conviction for embezzling $200 to $1,000 or more (convictions for attempt do not count, nor do attempt convictions under similar local laws) (M.C.L. § 750.174(4)(b))

  • punishable by up to 5 years in jail or a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

4)       The loss amount is $200 or more but less than $1,000 and the victim is a charitable organization (M.C.L. § 750.174(4)(c))

  • punishable by up to 5 years in jail or a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

5)       The loss amount is $20,000 or more but less than $50,000 (M.C.L. § 750.174(5)(a))

  • punishable by up to 10 years in jail or a fine of not more than $15,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

6)       The loss amount is $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 and the person has two qualifying prior embezzlement convictions (M.C.L. § 750.174(5)(b))

  • punishable by up to 10 years in jail or a fine of not more than $15,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

7)       The loss amount is $200 or more but less than $1,000 and the victim is a charitable organization and the person has two qualifying prior embezzlement convictions (M.C.L. § 750.174(5)(b))

  • punishable by up to 10 years in jail or a fine of not more than $15,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

8)       The loss amount is $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 and the victim is a charitable organization (M.C.L. § 750.174(5)(c))

  • punishable by up to 10 years in jail or a fine of not more than $15,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

9)        The loss amount is $50,000 or more but less than $100,000 (M.C.L. § 750.174(6))

  • punishable by up to 15 years in jail or a fine of not more than $25,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

10)    The loss amount is $100,000 or more (M.C.L. § 750.174(7))

  • punishable by up to 20 years in jail or a fine of not more than $50,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine;

Will I Get Jail Time for Embezzlement?

It depends on a lot of different factors including:  the what crime you are actually convicted of, your criminal history, the sentencing guidelines, the Judge sentencing you, whether you are able to make the victim whole prior to sentencing, among others.  Generally speaking, it is easier to avoid jail with a misdemeanor conviction than a felony.  Not surprisingly, prosecutors and judges seem more willing to recommend a no jail sentence if the victim has been made whole, though doing so does not ensure a no jail sentence.

If you or somebody you know are accused of a white collar crime, call the award-winning attorneys at Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law, pllc, for a free case evaluation (616) 458-5500 or (231) 924-8700.