What is a Michigan Retail Fraud charge?
The State of Michigan statutorily divides up it theft crimes into multiple categories, which includes Michigan retail fraud. The statutes go even further and divide Michigan retail fraud into separate classes or degrees that vary depending upon the act and amount of merchandise involved in the alleged Michigan retail fraud charge. Each degree maintains and has corresponding degrees of punishments for each separate crime, and thus it becomes essential to know the exact criminal charge pending when involved with a Michigan retail fraud matter.
Michigan Retail Fraud in the first degree is limited to instances where the value of the property exceeds $1,000.00 and is punishable as a felony. An individual can face up to 5-years in jail and/or a fine of $10,000.00 or 3 times the amount of the value of the property taken, whichever is greater. Moreover, the prosecutor is allowed to use and aggregate multiple incidents, of retail fraud, over a 12-month period to determine the property value amount under this statute.
The other two degrees of Michigan Retail Fraud are both misdemeanors, and thus the maximum punishment is 1-year (if convicted for second degree retail fraud) and 93-days for an individual convicted of retail fraud in the third degree. Moreover, the value of property cannot exceed $1,000.00 for a second degree charge and property less than $200.00 will attach a third degree charge.
To note, the statute does allow for statutory increases in punishment for those individuals who have been convicted of the crime on a prior conviction. This applies to all degrees of retail fraud and is enumerated by statute. Furthermore, Michigan Retail Fraud law also now allows for a more severe crime of Organized Michigan Retail Crime Act when the individual is alleged to have committed the theft with the intent to resell, distribute or return the items for gain.
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