In early June, 48-year-old Steven Thomas Keene, a sheriff’s deputy with the Cass County Sheriff’s Department for 25 years, was charged with several counts related to the alleged staging of an accident so that a friend could collect insurance money to purchase a new car. Kalamazoo County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Carrie Klein stated in a news article at Mlive.com that Keene is charged with one count each of insurance fraud, tampering with evidence, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, and obstruction of justice.
Michigan fraud defense attorneys know that if convicted, Keene will face fines of up to $50,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison. The charges against Keene stem from an investigation performed by an auto theft team, Southwest Commercial Auto Recovery Unit, who work multiple jurisdictions.
Allegedly, Keene and a friend staged a one-vehicle accident so that the female friend could get a new car. The idea was to make it appear as though the car had been involved in an accident with a deer, so that she could collect insurance money. After staging the crash, Keene lied about it on the police report.
In a separate incident, Keene allegedly provided information to police in connection to a February 5 motor vehicle crash that was described as “inaccurate, incomplete, and misleading.” News articles say that Keene knew someone had committed a crime, and was attempting to help that person out by obscuring evidence.
Additionally, prosecutors in the case say that some of the charges Keene faces stem from incidents which allegedly took place while on duty as a police officer for Silver Creek Township, where he worked part-time.
Keene was to have appeared on June 19 for an evidentiary hearing, but has waived that hearing. He will stand trial on felony charges.
Insurance fraud, embezzlement, and other theft-related offenses should be taken very seriously, as the penalties if convicted are severe. Consult with a seasoned Michigan criminal defense lawyer for positive results.