Fraudulent and Bad Check Cases - Forgery, Uttering & Publishing, NSF Check, No Account Check

Daniel P. Hilf

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Criminal Defense Attorney

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Posted over 2 years ago. 1 helpful vote

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There are a lot of different "paper crimes" in Michigan, which carry different potential punishments depending upon the circumstances. Fraudulent Check Cases Forgery in Michigan is a felony that carries a maximum punishment of 14 years in prison. For the offense of Forgery, the Prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt: 1) That the document in question was falsely made, altered, forged, counterfeited in some manner; 2) The Defendant falsely made, altered, forged, or counterfeited the document. Forgery includes any act which falsely makes an instrument appear what it is not; 3) When the Defendant did this, he or she intended to defraud or cheat someone. Forgery often involves checks. However, forgery can involve fraudulent titles, contracts, promissory notes, deeds, and other paperwork. The offense of Uttering and Publishing (U & P) (not including Uttering & Publishing Counterfeit Notes) is a 14 year felony. For the offense of Uttering and Publishing, the Prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: 1) That the document in question was falsely made, altered, forged, counterfeited in some manner; 2) The Defendant represented, either by words or actions or both, that the document was genuine or true and either exhibited, offered, or presented it; 3) When the Defendant did this, he or she knew that the document was either false, forged, altered, or counterfeit; 4) When the Defendant did this, he or she intended to defraud or cheat someone. It does not matter whether the document was actually accepted as genuine by the person the Defendant allegedly tried to cheat. The intent of the Defendant is what matters. It also does not matter whether the person actually suffered a loss. It is enough if the Defendant offered the document, directly or indirectly, by words or actions, as genuine. Many Uttering and Publishing cases occur at banks when a person places a fraudulent check before a bank teller for payment, and the teller contacts the police, who arrest the person as they are awaiting payment inside the bank. If the person arrested admits to fraudulently signing the check as the payor, the Prosecution will charge Forgery along with Uttering and Publishing. It does not matter whether the Defendant knew who made the falsification, alternation, forgery, or counterfeit of the document. Sometimes persons buy fake checks from persons from the street who make the checks on a computer. The person who passes the check can be prosecuted even if the maker of the counterfeit check is unknown and therefore not prosecuted. Many persons that are innocent of Uttering and Publishing are the victims of Nigerian scams and other financial ruses. They are duped into believing the check is real by another individual, and are directed to deposit the check in their own account and forward a potion of the proceeds of the check to another person who is usually out of state or from a foreign country. Defending these matters usually involve convincing the Judge or Jury as to how well the scam was executed, and convincing the jury that the Defendant was foolish enough to fall for the scam. An offense sometimes related to Forgery and Uttering and Publishing is False Pretenses. False Pretenses occurs when a person obtains property from another through fraud or deceit. The offense can be a 5 year felony or a 1 year or 93 day misdemeanor depending upon the dollar amount involved and prior convictions of the Defendant. False Pretenses can involve obtaining a signature on a forged document, or using deceit to obtain title to property or land. Uttering and Publishing Counterfeit Notes is a 5 year felony. It usually involves making counterfeit money. Any financial crime can be charged and prosecuted in the Federal criminal justice system. The information on this web page only addresses possible state charges in Michigan. Bad Check Cases A Person who legitimately maintain, or previously maintained a valid checking account can be prosecuted for several different crimes depending upon the circumstances. The offense of No Account Check is a 2 year maximum felony, with a fine of not more than $500, or both. For the offense of No Account Check, the Prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt: 1) That on a particular date the Defendant wrote or delivered a check, draft, or money order to a named individual or entity for a specific dollar amount; 2) The check, draft, or money order was drawn on a particular bank; 3) When he or she did this, the Defendant did not have an account or credit with the particular bank; 4) When he or she wrote or delivered the check, draft, or money order, the Defendant intended to defraud or cheat someone. 5) The check, draft, or money order was presented for payment. The offense of 3 Non Sufficient Funds Checks within 10 days is a 2 year maximum felony, with a fine of not more than $500, or both. For the offense of 3 Non Sufficient Fund (NSF) Checks within 10 days the Prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt: 1) The Defendant wrote or delivered 3 checks for a particular dollar amount 2) When he or she did this, the Defendant did not have enough money or credit with the particular bank to pay any of the checks in full; 3) When he or she wrote or delivered the check, draft, or money order, the Defendant knew that he or she did not have enough money or credit to pay any of them in full. 4) When he or she wrote or delivered each of the 3 checks, drafts, or money orders, the Defendant intended to defraud or cheat someone. For the offense of Nonsufficient Funds (NSF) Check, the Prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt: 1) That on a particular date the Defendant wrote or delivered a check, draft, or money order to a named individual or entity for a specific dollar amount; 2) The check, draft, or money order was drawn on a particular bank; 3) The check, draft, or money order was signed and endorsed by a particular individual. 4) When he or she wrote or delivered the check, draft, or money order, the Defendant knew that he or she did not have enough money or credit at the particular bank to pay any it in full. OR when the check, draft, or money order was presented for payment, there were not sufficient funds at the particular bank to pay it in full and the Defendant knew when he or she wrote the check, draft, or money order that there would not be enough money or credit to pay it in full when it was presented. 5) When he or she wrote or delivered the check, draft, or money order, the Defendant intended to defraud or cheat someone. 6) The check, draft, or money order was in one of the following amounts: a) $500 or more; b) $100 or more but less than $500; c) some amount less than $100. The possible penalties for Non Sufficient Funds (NSF) Check are as follows: 1) In cases where there are 2 prior NSF convictions, the offense is a 2 year maximum felony or a fine of not more than $2,000 or 3 times the amount payable, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine; 2) If the amount payable in the check, draft, or money order is $100 or more but less than $500, either of the following apply: a) For a first or second offense, a 1 year maximum misdemeanor or a fine of more than $1,000 or 3 times the amount payable, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine; b) For an offense following 2 or more prior NSF convictions, the offense is a 2 year maximum felony or a fine of not more than $2,000, or both imprisonment and a fine (a conviction for attempted NSF check under $100 is not counted in determining prior NSF convictions here); 3) For an offense following 1 or more prior NSF convictions involving $100 or less, a 1 year maximum misdemeanor or a fine of more than $1,000, or both imprisonment and a fine; 4) For a first offense, a 93 day maximum misdemeanor, or a fine of not more than $500, or both. If the Defendant knew when he or she wrote the check, draft, or money order that he or she did not have enough money in the bank to cover it at the time, but had good reason to believe that the check, draft, or money order would be paid when it was presented for payment, then the Defendant did not have the intent to defraud or cheat anyone. If the Defendant wrote the check, draft, or money order when he or she did not have enough money in the bank account because he or she made an honest mistake about how much money he or she had in his or her account, there is also not an intent to defraud. The Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the check, draft, or money order was presented for payment - there is no requirement that an actual loss must be proven. It is important to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney if charged with a fraudulent check or a bad check case. 1) An experienced criminal defense attorney can explore all possible defenses to vigorously defend the case. 2) The criminal defense lawyer can negotiate with the Court to mitigate any possible sentence, and possibly reduce the charge through plea bargaining and/or avoid a record of conviction through diversionary programs and Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) when applicable. Sometimes in life there is only 1 opportunity to get the right result. Hiring the right criminal defense lawyer may be one of the most important decisions you make for yourself and your family. There are many lawyers who claim to do more than what they are able - just as there are many surgeons in the world that are no better than butchers. Do not settle for a legal hack job. Practicing law is a skill that develops over time with experience, commitment, dedication, and God given talent. There are no amateur attorneys at Hilf & Hilf, PLC – only professionals that are guided by the humanity in the individuals we serve, and the drive not to settle for what is easy over what is right.

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