Kenneth and Stephanie Cieslinski, a Midland couple facing charges of embezzling nearly $1 million from a Midland dentist, will wait a bit longer for their day in court due to the fact the case has been bound over to Circuit Court by Judge Stephen Carras. Cieslinski and his wife waived their rights to a preliminary examination, prompting the judge to take this action.
Michigan embezzlement lawyers know that without skilled legal representation, those convicted of fraud or embezzlement face serious penalties. Those penalties may include prison time, fines, restitution and a permanent criminal record. Those who are convicted for embezzling more than $100,000 face felony charges which may result in as many as 20 years in prison and/or fines of as much as $50,000 or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater.
According to news reports, over a ten year time period Stephanie Cieslinski pilfered nearly $1 million from Dr. Michael T. Smith. The embezzled funds were allegedly placed in a bank account in Kenneth Cieslinski’s name.
Together, the couple has been charged with six felonies. Kenneth Cieslinski has been charged with two counts of embezzlement by a trust or agent between $1,000 and $20,000, a felony which could land him in prison for five years. His wife has been charged with two counts of embezzling $100,000 or more as well as embezzling between $50,000 and $100,000, which potentially leaves Stephanie Cieslinski facing 20 years in prison. According to Michael D. carpenter, Midland County Prosecutor, investigators possess photographs which reveal Kenneth Cieslinski depositing money into the spurious account on at least two occasions.
Stephanie Cieslinski’s attorney Robert J. Dunn said that his client has paid Smith $39,000 of the money to date, and has cooperated with authorities during the investigation which has spanned one-and-a-half years. He is challenging the $1 million price tag. He also stated in reports that he expects Ms. Cieslinski will accept a plea deal in order to avoid a trial.
A pretrial conference for Stephanie K. Cieslinski is scheduled on August 7th before Circuit Judge Jonathan E. Lauderbach. Currently, the couple is being held in the Midland County Jail.
Embezzlement is a serious criminal offense with serious consequences. If you have been charged with embezzling or are under investigation, consult with an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer right away.