Embezzlement Law in Michigan
Recently, a Portage, Michigan man was sentenced to 87 months in prison for embezzling $6.5 million from Village Market Food Centers, where he worked as a comptroller. In addition to his prison time and supervised release thereafter, he is required to pay restitution of $6.5 million to his former employer. This shows just how serious the consequences of an embezzlement conviction can be.
Embezzlement in Michigan is governed by statute – MCL §750.174. In essence, a person is guilty of embezzlement when they are in a relationship of trust to the principal (generally an employer-employee situation); in lawful possession or control of the funds of the principal; and wrongfully take or convert those funds to his own use, with the intent to defraud.
The key element to a charge of embezzlement is that the person takes the money, which belongs to the principal, with the intent to convert it to his own use. In other words, the person has the fraudulent intent to deprive the owner of his property and take it for himself. Without this intent to defraud, a taking cannot be embezzlement (though it may constitute another offense.)
The severity of an embezzlement charge depends on the amount of money or personal property taken by the agent or employee. The charges include the following:
- If the money or property taken is valued at less than $200, the charge is a 93-day misdemeanor with a possible fine up to $500;
- If the value is up to $1,000, the crime is a 1-year misdemeanor subject to a fine of up to $2,000.
- $1,000 to $20,000 is a 5-year felony with a fine of up to $10,000.
- $20,000 to $50,000 is a 10-year felony with a fine up to $15,000.
- $50,000 to $100,000 is a 15-year felony with a fine up to $25,000.
- $100,000 and above is a 20-year felony with a fine up to $50,000.
Additionally, a person convicted of embezzlement will likely be required to pay restitution to the owner of the amount illegally taken, in addition to the statutory fines and jail time. Charges may also be enhanced if the defendant has any prior embezzlement convictions on his record.
If you are facing embezzlement charges, or if you need more information about this area of the law, contact Michigan Fraud Lawyer Mark Mandell at (248) 380-0000 or online. Mr. Mandell can provide you the experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel that is absolutely imperative when facing all manners of criminal charges.