750.174 Embezzlement by agent, servant or employee, or trustee, bailee, or custodian

Embezzlement is a serious white-collar crime in the state of Michigan, and involves stealing money or property that is entrusted to you by another individual or business. Essentially, any individual who has been given control of handling the property or money of a business or other person, and who disposes of the money/property in a way that is fraudulent or uses the money for his/her own purposes may be charged with embezzlement. This criminal offense is defined as the misappropriation or theft of funds placed in one's trust or belonging to one's employer. When assets are withheld in a dishonest manner for the purpose of theft of those assets, you may be accused of the crime of embezzlement.

Embezzlement often involves more than one person, even numerous parties and levels of authority. These types of cases are often extremely complex and may involve employee theft, computer fraud, and forgery, transferring money from one bank account to another; even tax fraud or faulty checks.

The crime of embezzlement may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the money or property involved.

Punishment:

The punishment for someone found guilty of embezzlement will depend on several factors, including the value of the money or property involved and whether the accused has prior convictions.

Embezzlement of money or property valued at $1,000 or less are generally charged as misdemeanor offenses. If the offense involves property valued at under $200, the penalties for a conviction may include up to 93 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater. For an offense involving property valued between $200 and $1,000, jail time increases to a maximum of one year, with fines of $1.000 or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater. These penalties also apply in situations where less than $200 has been embezzled, but the defendant has been convicted of the crime previously, or embezzles from a charity or non-profit group.

Felony embezzlement involves the theft or misappropriation of funds that fall between $1,000 and $100,000 or more. Depending on whether you are found guilty of embezzling up to $20,000, between $20,000 and $50,000, between $50,000 and $100,000, or more than $100,000, you will face criminal penalties which include prison time ranging from five years to 20 years, and fines of between $10,000 to $50,000, or three times the value of the money/property, whichever is greater. Of course, the higher the value of the money or property you are accused of embezzling, the more number of years you will spend in prison, and the higher fines you will pay if convicted. Penalties are also harsher when embezzlement involves a charitable organization or non profit group.

Other Consequences:

Individuals who are convicted of embezzlement will have a public criminal record for life, which will impact employment and housing opportunities. In addition, a prior criminal record often results in enhanced penalties for any future crimes you may be accused of.

Related Crimes:

Several crimes are related to embezzlement, including:

  • Vulnerable adult; prohibited conduct; violation; penalty; enhanced sentence; exceptions; consecutive sentence; definitions; report by office of services to the aging to department of human services.
  • Embezzlement by public officer, agent or servant; penalty.
  • Embezzlement by administrator, executor or guardian; penalty.
  • Embezzlement by chattel mortgagor, vendee or lessee; penalty; enhanced sentence based on prior convictions.
  • Embezzlement of chattel mortgage, lease, or contract property by others; violation; penalty; enhanced sentence based on prior convictions.
  • Embezzlement in bank, deposit, trust company, or credit union; penalty.
  • Embezzlement of property belonging to person and part owner; violation; penalty; enhanced sentence based on prior convictions.
  • Embezzlement by warehouseman or forwarder of property receipted for.

Experience and Success:

Grabel & Associates has significant experience defending clients charged with white-collar crimes, including embezzlement. Our law firm has achieved substantial success defending clients who are accused of embezzlement and other financial crimes, in many cases securing dismissal of charges, acquittals, and having convictions overturned on appeal.

Defenses:

There are many defense strategies successfully used by the skilled attorneys with our firm, which have helped those charged with embezzlement, and white collar crimes beat the charges. We work with clients to devise the most effective defense strategy, ultimately focusing on obtaining the best possible results. Individuals who have been found guilty of a financial crime may wish to seek post-conviction relief or appeal their conviction.

THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 328 of 1931

750.174 Embezzlement by agent, servant or employee, or trustee, bailee, or custodian; penalty; prima facie proof of intent; enhanced sentence based on prior convictions; consecutive sentence; conditions.

Sec. 174.

(1) A person who as the agent, servant, or employee of another person, governmental entity within this state, or other legal entity or who as the trustee, bailee, or custodian of the property of another person, governmental entity within this state, or other legal entity fraudulently disposes of or converts to his or her own use, or takes or secretes with the intent to convert to his or her own use without the consent of his or her principal, any money or other personal property of his or her principal that has come to that person's possession or that is under his or her charge or control by virtue of his or her being an agent, servant, employee, trustee, bailee, or custodian, is guilty of embezzlement.

(2) If the money or personal property embezzled has a value of less than $200.00, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.

(3) If any of the following apply, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:

(a) The money or personal property embezzled has a value of $200.00 or more but less than $1,000.00.

(b) The person violates subsection (2) and has 1 or more prior convictions for committing or attempting to commit an offense under this section or a local ordinance substantially corresponding to this section.

(c) The person violates subsection (2) and the victim is a nonprofit corporation or charitable organization under federal law or the laws of this state.

(4) If any of the following apply, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:

(a) The money or personal property embezzled has a value of $1,000.00 or more but less than $20,000.00.

(b) The person violates subsection (3)(a) or (c) and has 1 or more prior convictions for committing or attempting to commit an offense under this section. For purposes of this subdivision, however, a prior conviction does not include a conviction for a violation or attempted violation of subsection (2) or (3)(b).

(c) The person violates subsection (3)(a) and the victim is a nonprofit corporation or charitable organization under federal law or the laws of this state.

(5) If any of the following apply, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $15,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:

(a) The money or personal property embezzled has a value of $20,000.00 or more but less than $50,000.00.

(b) The person violates subsection (4)(a) or (c) and has 2 or more prior convictions for committing or attempting to commit an offense under this section. For purposes of this subdivision, however, a prior conviction does not include a conviction for a violation or attempted violation of subsection (2) or (3)(b).

(c) The person violates subsection (4)(a) and the victim is a nonprofit corporation or charitable organization under federal law or the laws of this state.

(6) If the money or personal property embezzled has a value of $50,000.00 or more but less than $100,000.00, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than $25,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.

(7) If the money or personal property embezzled has a value of $100,000.00 or more, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years or a fine of not more than $50,000.00 or 3 times the value of the money or property embezzled, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.

(8) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the values of money or personal property embezzled in separate incidents pursuant to a scheme or course of conduct within any 12-month period may be aggregated to determine the total value of money or personal property embezzled. If the scheme or course of conduct is directed against only 1 person, governmental entity within this state, or other legal entity, no time limit applies to aggregation under this subsection.

(9) If the prosecuting attorney intends to seek an enhanced sentence based upon the defendant having 1 or more prior convictions, the prosecuting attorney shall include on the complaint and information a statement listing the prior conviction or convictions. The existence of the defendant's prior conviction or convictions shall be determined by the court, without a jury, at sentencing or at a separate hearing for that purpose before sentencing. The existence of a prior conviction may be established by any evidence relevant for that purpose, including, but not limited to, 1 or more of the following:

(a) A copy of the judgment of conviction.

(b) A transcript of a prior trial, plea-taking, or sentencing.

(c) Information contained in a presentence report.

(d) The defendant's statement.

(10) In a prosecution under this section, the failure, neglect, or refusal of the agent, servant, employee, trustee, bailee, or custodian to pay, deliver, or refund to his or her principal the money or property entrusted to his or her care upon demand is prima facie proof of intent to embezzle.

(11) If the sentence for a conviction under this section is enhanced by 1 or more prior convictions, those prior convictions shall not be used to further enhance the sentence for the conviction under section 10, 11, or 12 of chapter IX of the code of criminal procedure, 1927 PA 175, MCL 769.10, 769.11, and 769.12.

(12) The court may order a term of imprisonment imposed for a felony violation of this section to be served consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed for any other criminal offense if the victim of the violation of this section was any of the following:

(a) A nonprofit corporation or charitable organization under federal law or the laws of this state.

(b) A person 60 years of age or older.

(c) A vulnerable adult as defined in section 174a.

History: 1931, Act 328, Eff. Sept. 18, 1931 ;-- CL 1948, 750.174 ;-- Am. 1957, Act 69, Eff. Sept. 27, 1957 ;-- Am. 1998, Act 312, Eff. Jan. 1, 1999 ;-- Am. 2006, Act 573, Eff. Mar. 30, 2007

Former Law: See sections 1 and 2 of Act 48 of 1927, being CL 1929, §§ 16980 and 16981.