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Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Law Blog

Bank teller pleads guilty to white collar crimes charges

A former employee of Michigan First Credit Union recently entered a guilty plea to embezzlement charges that were filed against her in December. Reportedly, Michigan First Credit Union investigated irregularities reported by the family of a 92-year-old client of the bank. During a meeting with her employers, the 52-year-old teller admitted to stealing funds from a vulnerable adult. She worked for the bank for 13 years, but her employment was terminated after she confessed to committing white collar crimes.

Apparently, the case first came to the attention of the state Department of Insurance and Financial Services during 2018. Following an examination, DIFS referred the embezzlement of $24,000 to the office of the Attorney General. The elderly woman was in the hospital at the time that the now former teller withdrew the funds from her account.

Facing tax evasion charges

Tax evasion is one of the most consequential white collar criminal charges a person may face. Many people worry that they may never recover if they find themselves under investigation for tax fraud, which is certainly a reasonable fear without a strong legal defense. However, many tax charges result from inaccurate interpretations of tax compliance. If you face tax evasion charges, now is the time to begin building your defense.

Tax laws are among the most complicated codes in existence, so it is a possibility that you may have simply made an error while calculating and paying your taxes. As you review your tax documents and the charges against you, keep in mind that your prosecutor wants to prove that you took intentional actions, even if you did not.

Post-conviction matters often question bite mark comparisons

While DNA testing has proved to be precise in identifications, other types of forensic evidence have been determined to be unreliable. Many post-conviction matters that ultimately led to exonerations in Michigan and elsewhere included evidence that was based on bite mark comparisons. Yet, in a significant number of cases, prosecutors continue to present bite mark comparisons as crucial evidence.

Some believe that the elasticity of the skin, unlike a dentist's mold, prevents bite mark comparisons to be as exact as DNA evidence. Other problems include the fact that different bite marks can be left on a victim's skin by the same teeth. Also, when only partial bite marks are present, a different person's teeth could have produced them.

Post-conviction matters: The tragedies of wrongful convictions

Whenever someone is wrongfully convicted in Michigan, the real perpetrator often continues to threaten society. For those who have been convicted of a crime they did not commit, an attorney who has experience in dealing with post-conviction matters and DNA evidence may be helpful. Wrongful convictions are tragedies that devastate the individual convicted in error and his or her family and loved ones.

Analysis of the DNA exonerations across the country shows several shortcomings in the criminal justice system. The most significant involve misidentification by eyewitnesses -- some 75% of these wrongful convictions were based on evidence of mistaken identification. More than one-half of the overturned convictions involved forensic evidence -- such as bite marks, fiber and hair comparisons -- that were later invalidated.

40 felony charges follow carjacking attempts and police pursuit

A Michigan man with no criminal history may be sentenced to life in prison -- if he is convicted. Following 90 minutes of alleged crimes on a recent Friday, he was arraigned on no less than 40 counts of felony charges. According to police reports, the man was arrested after a police pursuit that ended when officers carried out a precision immobilization technique to force the accused offender to stop the vehicle he was driving.

Allegedly, the chain of events started when the man attempted to take the purse of a woman across the road from his residence. He failed and ran back to his home from which he is said to have escaped through a window. He then allegedly made nine attempts to hijack vehicles, every time threatening the occupants with a handgun.

Many computer and internet crimes involve crypto currency

Anyone with a start-up cryptocurrency business in Michigan might want to take extra precautions to protect their assets. Documents that were recently filed in a federal court in another state indicates that crypto assets can easily be lost. This case involves a 23-year-old man who was recently arrested on charges of computer and internet crimes for alleged crypto theft.

The man allegedly used SIM-swapping techniques to funnel cryptocurrency from executives of startups to accounts for himself. It is also claimed that the man used the funds to purchase several sports cars for himself and an SUV for a relative. Some of the proceeds were allegedly also spent on his lavish lifestyle that included diamond jewelry, a custom Rolex and even royalties to rap music.

The law on porch piracy in Michigan

Since the rise of the online shopping industry, porch piracy, or the stealing of packages on a person's doorstep, has become an increasing problem across the U.S. The holiday season is a particularly popular time for criminals to engage in mail theft through the interception of packages left on doorsteps.

To combat this, on Dec. 16, 2019, porch piracy became a felony in Michigan. The Michigan Senate passed the law in a unanimous vote, making the specific type of theft a state-level crime that can be prosecuted locally.

White collar crimes: $1 million sales of fake memorabilia

Michigan residents who purchased memorabilia online between 2010 and last month might now be unsure about the authenticity of the products. Federal prosecutors reported the arrest of a man in another state on white collar crimes charges. It is alleged that he offered autographed items of celebrities, movie stars and sports figures online. The indictment claims that people who were hired and paid to do it forged the signatures.

According to the indictment, items that allegedly contained the fake autographs included actors from "Twilight" and "Hunger Games" and also "Star Wars" actors like Darth Vader and others. It is alleged that the forgeries were advertised and sold online. The indictment asserts that ordered items were then shipped via FedEx, U.S. Mail and other interstate carriers -- both private and commercial.

Credit union teller in Michigan charged with felonies

Circumstances can sometimes drive some people to commit white collar crimes out of desperation. Anyone who is charged with felonies that involve embezzlement or other fraud-related crimes in Michigan will remain innocent in the eyes of the law until, and only if, the prosecution can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This applies to anyone accused of a crime.

However, those who plead guilty can still rely upon legal counsel to advocate for them during legal proceedings that lead up to sentencing. One such case involves a 52-year-old woman who worked as a teller with Michigan First Credit Union for almost 15 years. Felony charges were recently filed against her for allegedly embezzling $24,000 from an elderly client's account.

White collar crimes: 3 men arrested for alleged credit card fraud

Being accused of credit card fraud is serious, and people in Michigan or elsewhere will be wise to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. In fact, that applies to any accusations of white collar crimes. This will likely be the first steps taken by three men in another state who were recently arrested and charged with credit card fraud.

The arrests took place on a recent Tuesday evening after police received reports about several Home Depot stores that were victimized of credit card fraud. Reportedly, they learned the identity of the Home Depot store that was the next target. An arrest report indicates that law enforcement arrived at that store to find two suspects inside the store and the third one waiting in a car.

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