Original Case Details
An alleged fraud scheme between three people has led to criminal charges for the theft of nearly $500,000 from both a federal veteran’s program and from the state of Michigan itself. It is alleged that over the course of six years, these individuals created fake names and either obtained or created fake documents, such as birth certificates, to make it look like they were to inherit money from various people who had died. It is alleged that the individuals stole more than $40,000 from the Michigan Department of Treasury and nearly $450,000 from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The defendants have been arraigned on their charges in the 18th District Court in Wayne County.
Criminal Charges Involved
The first defendant in this case is charged with 8 felony counts including:
• One count of conducting a criminal enterprise – a felony charge that carries up to 20 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.
• Two counts of theft by false pretenses between $20,000 and $50,000 – felony charges that carry up to 15 years in prison, along with a $15,000 fine or three times the value of money stolen, whichever is greater.
• One count of forgery – a felony charge that carries up to 14 years in prison, and
• Four counts of theft by false pretenses between $1,000 and $20,000 – felony charges that carry up to five years in prison, along with a $10,000 fine or three times the value of the money stolen, whichever is greater.
The other defendants in this case are also charged with one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, with one defendant also facing multiple counts of theft by false pretenses.
The next step in this case will be the preliminary examination. At a preliminary exam, the prosecutor is required to show probable cause that a crime was committed and that the crime was committed by these three defendants. These hearings somewhat resemble trials as witnesses are called and they are sworn to testify under oath in court in front of a District Court judge. The main difference between a preliminary exam and a trial is the burden of proof, a prosecutor only has to prove probable cause in order to continue the case forward to circuit for a possible eventual trial. Also, there are no jurors at a preliminary exam, and there is no finding of guilt at this hearing. If the prosecutor is unable to show probable cause that a crime was committed and that the defendants committed the crimes charged, then the case can be dismissed altogether by the judge hearing the case. This is the defendant’s first opportunity to fight the charges against him or her. Since there are no depositions in criminal court, a preliminary exam can act as one, as the testimony given by witnesses is under oath, and is recorded. A transcript is typically made of this hearing to use at future hearings and trial. It is not required that this hearing actually take place. If both the prosecutor and defense agree to waive the preliminary exam, then they are agreeing that probable cause exists, and they are allowing the case to be bound over to circuit court for further proceedings and a possible eventual trial. There are different tactical advantages to each approach which are driven by the circumstances of the case.
Any Further Questions?
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or are being investigated for one, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.