Articles Posted in Theft and Property Crimes

Original Case Details

Federal authorities raided a house in northern Michigan that they believe is tied to an art forgery scheme that tricks art collectors into buying fake paintings claimed to be painted by top American artists. These artists include Ralston Crawford, Gertrude Abercrombie, and George Ault. Ault was an artist active mainly in the 1940s, while Crawford was mainly active in the 1970s but also had a similar artistic style to Ault. Abercrombie was a surrealist artist mainly active in the 1970s as well. Those involved in the scheme are also believed to be in the business of selling counterfeit sports memorabilia falsely advertised as belonging to baseball hall of famers Babe Ruth, Will Mays, and Lou Gehrig. Investigators believe this is a national crime ring which has conspirators operating in the Detroit area. It is alleged that this ring targeted major galleries with its scheme. Hirschl & Adler, a top American art gallery in New York City, spent nearly half a million dollars in paintings that were part of the alleged scheme. The managing director of the gallery, Elizabeth Feld stated that, “this is every (art) dealer’s nightmare.” Feld also pointed out that the artwork they bought was still beautiful art, even if not painted by the artists claimed. It is important to note that the artwork that is alleged to have been sold are not said to be photocopies of other famous pieces. These are pieces that art claimed to have been unknown pieces of art coming from these famous artists. In order for any of this alleged scheme to work, they have to convince art collectors and art galleries that these pieces were actually painted by a famous artist, something they seem to have done pretty well. Personal-Safety-Guides-Protect-Yourself-Against-Sex-Crimes-Pic-300x199

Ongoing Investigation

Original Case Details

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is set to testify over her handling of Former state senator Virgil Smith’s criminal case. Smith was sentenced to ten months in the Wayne County Jail back in 2016 for a felony charge of malicious destruction of property along with admitting that he brandished a gun and fired shots at his ex-wife’s car. An initial plea deal with negotiated where the Wayne County Prosecutors Office agreed to drop three charges if Smith agreed to resign from the Senate along with agreeing to not hold elected office during his probation period, which would have been set for five years. When the negotiated plea deal went in front of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Talon, the judge removed both requirements relating Smith’s ability to hold elected office from the deal, stating that the terms were unconstitutional. Prosecutors didn’t agree with a deal that did not include resignation and no elected office so they attempted to withdraw the deal, but Judge Talon would not allow the withdrawal. Prosecutors appealed the Judge’s decision and won at the Michigan Supreme Court in 2018, where the ruling said that the judge should have allowed prosecutors to withdraw from the deal since key parts of it were removed by the judge. After the deal was successfully withdrawn, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy then offered Smith a new deal if he pled to two felonies, which included the previous malicious destruction of property charge in addition to felonious assault. Seeing as Smith had already served his jail time in 2016, and had no new charges or violations, he found this to be vindictive on Worthy’s part since Smith had a deal that included only one felony conviction previously. Smith had also unsuccessfully attempted a run for a seat on Detroit City Council after serving his jail time. criminal-justice-attorney-300x225

What Is The Current Situation?

A woman facing embezzlement charges has just gotten another adjournment much to the judge’s chagrin. The judge asked, “what are we doing with this case? This is the ninth adjournment in this case.” While the judge holds the ultimate authority over giving adjournments, there is an interest in working towards a resolution if it is possible. The defense attorney stated that this adjournment was to finalize plea negotiations. Sometimes an adjournment is exactly what is needed, just a little more time. If both the prosecutor and defense attorney are in agreement in asking for an adjournment, it is rarely denied. money-series-3-906662-m-300x200

Original Case Details

The woman, 64, is accused of embezzling over $20,000 from the Eastpointe chapter of the International Order of Odd Fellows. She was hired as secretary to the club back in June 2018. She has been accused of stealing the money over a period of time. Investigators believe that she would write duplicate checks to herself, listing things like “vacation” and “hotel reservation” on the memo lines. Additional, out of numerical order checks were also made out to her totaling over $12,000. This woman’s rap sheet goes back to 1990 where she had her first conviction for a false identification in the use of a financial transaction device. She has been convicted of embezzlement previously in 2015 and in 2008 where she embezzled more than $35,000 between both cases. In 2003, she was convicted of theft for stealing over $20,000.

After a 3-day jury trial, a Huron County Circuit Court jury returned a verdict of not guilty on a man charged with two felonies. The defendant, Travis M. Kosinski, was found not guilty of one county of breaking and entering a building with intent, and one count of malicious destruction of personal property. 68916_law_education_series_2-300x225

The charges stemmed from a June 2016 allegation, Konsinski was accused of doing thousands of dollars of damage to a 1974 24-foot Sea Ray boat that belonged to his relative. Peter Samouris of Grabel and Associates led Kosinski’s defense.

Samouris provided commentary on the trial when he said, “I’m glad that justice was served in Travis’s case. My client has always maintained his innocence-and as one of the jurors told me afterwards-he was wondering why it was even charged in the first place. Travis is delighted to put all of this behind him. Justice was served with this verdict.”

Alleged Corruption At Detroit Police Department

An ongoing investigation into the Detroit police department narcotics unit has turned up some serious problems within the unit. The investigation has looked into allegations of corruption and continues to investigate. The investigation has uncovered possible false affidavits that led to convictions. Because of these false affidavits, these convictions might be getting overturned and for some people, will mean their freedom. Investigators have also uncovered more alleged corruption in the forms of planting evidence, robbing drug dealers, and embezzling money. There have also been numerous instances where suspects were turned into confidential police informants without the proper approval. The team of investigators is comprised of Detroit police officers, Michigan state police troopers, and FBI agents. This 17-person investigation team is looking within a 10-year period of narcotics unit activity. It is estimated the investigation will be looking into as many as 10,000 police drug raids. This specific drug unit was disbanded in 2014 because of rampant internal problems in how evidence and drugs were handled. iStock_000009283153_Large-2-300x201

The Current Investigation

In the last 5 years, one crime that has become the center of controversy is that of Home Invasion. While the statute provides one aspect of the crime, the practicality of the statute has been up for debate in courtrooms across the state of Michigan. In reviewing the statute, we learn that Home Invasion in the First Degree states: 657836_forced_entry-300x224

A person who breaks and enters a dwelling with intent to commit a felony, larceny, or assault in the dwelling, a person who enters a dwelling without permission with intent to commit a felony, larceny, or assault in the dwelling, or a person who breaks and enters a dwelling or enters a dwelling without permission and, at any time while he or she is entering, present in, or exiting the dwelling, commits a felony, larceny, or assault is guilty of home invasion in the first degree if at any time while the person is entering, present in, or exiting the dwelling either of the following circumstances exists:

(a) The person is armed with a dangerous weapon.

Unfortunately, many people look at the potential misfortune others face as an opportunity to “loot” others’ possession, raise

hurricane irma approaching irma from NOAA

Courtesy NOAA National Weather Service National Hurricane Center/Handout

prices, and commit other crimes.  Given the harsh hurricane season and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, those in the Houston areas and all across Florida may become the victims of looters and price gouging in addition to the other issues they face following the devastation often left behind.

Following Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, officials were not going to make it easy for those who were considering breaking into homes or businesses for the purpose of stealing.  Lawmakers vowed zero tolerance for looters, and according to news reports arrested 14 individuals.  Other reports claimed that following the hurricane, nearly 100 firearms were stolen from stores in the area.   Continue reading

On Saturday, March 12, three gas stations were robbed in Michigan; one in Milan, one in Pittsfield Township, and one in Dundee. According to news reports, it seems that one man committed all three robberies. iStock_000061194544_XXXLarge-2-300x200

As of Wednesday police were still searching for the suspect, described as a white male wearing a hoodie pulled over his head, a black jacket, and white bandana over his face. He is believed to be 5′ 10″ to 6 feet tall.

The first robbery occurred just after 6 a.m. at the BP station in Dundee, where the suspect demanded cash but the station clerk drew a gun, causing the suspect to flee.

On Thursday January 7, a car that was left running in a driveway in Ypsilanti was stolen according to a news report at Authorities say the car, a 2005 silver Chevrolet Impala, was at a residence in the 1000 block of Nash Avenue when the incident occurred. iStock_000011301900_Full-300x200

Two unknown suspects were last observed driving the vehicle north on Nash. The car is reported to have a dent in the front driver side quarter panel, and a paper plate in the rear window.

Just two days earlier, a woman left her vehicle running as she went inside a business in Ypsilanti; her vehicle was gone when she returned just 10 minutes later. This incident occurred in the 600 block of East Michigan Avenue. In this case, the vehicle stolen was a 2010 Ford Fusion, gray in color, with damage to the right side of the front bumper. Reports claim the bumper has duct tape on it.

Yesterday it was announced that Meridian Township Police were in search of a man who entered an apartment at The Lodges Apartments located near MSU’s campus. According to WILX-TV, the man is believed to have walked into an unlocked apartment while the woman who lived there was taking a shower. iStock_000024836642_XXXLarge-2-300x200

The incident occurred on Wednesday evening when the man entered the apartment and waited in the bedroom as the young woman showered. As he waited, the woman’s roommate came home; the suspect then ran off. Police are calling the man a “home invasion suspect,” and believe him to be a while male in his mid-twenties, about 5′ 10″ tall with a medium build and brown hair.

Lieutenant Greg Frenger said the police believe the man had been watching the woman and her apartment, and that he knew she would be alone when he entered. Frenger also believes the woman left the apartment door unlocked, a practice that is all too common in the apartment complex. A neighbor who lives across the hall from where the incident took place said that residents don’t always lock their doors, as many come in and out frequently. Frenger asked that residents be more cautious and aware, but particularly vigilant in locking their doors.

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