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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20231
Experience:  Handling criminal and probation matters for over 14 years.
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A family member has been stealing individual checks from my

Resolved Question:

A family member has been stealing individual checks from my account and forging my wife signiture on them over the past several years. We were totally unaware of these actions. It has totaled over 40K and involves more than 20 checks. Is there a staute of limitation on prosectution in the state of Michigan and what is the potential sentence? Our bank can only research 7 years but she admits to many more. If she pays only part of the money back and we find more stolen, can she be procecuted and will the bank be responsible for the error as well? This may have been going on for 14 years. Does this also be considered an on going criminal enterprise since it only stopped upon diecovery in Sept 2010.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.

JB Umphrey :

Thank you for using JustAnswer!

JB Umphrey :

I am sorry to learn of your circumstances.

JB Umphrey :

Has all of this occurred in the State of Michigan?

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
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Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
I will be happy to attempt to assist you when you're able to reply to the follow-up questions. Thanks!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes it all occurred in the state of Michigan
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
Has the police been contacted?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No yet but the bank is aware.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
As a general matter, yes, the family member can be prosecuted.

Even if the family member pays back the money, the person can still be criminally prosecuted. It's not possible to speculate if it would be an ongoing criminal enterprise -- that would be for law enforcement to further investigate. It would also be for the law enforcement investigation to determine what, if any, statute of limitation restrictions there may be.

As a general matter, no, the bank is not responsible. The bank is not responsible for the criminal acts of a third party.

Good luck and best wishes for better days ahead. I hope that you find this information to be helpful and this answer to be ACCEPTable!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Isn't it covered by the bank's insurance---FDIC---I think.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
Not for that type of activity. Not at all.

The purpose of FDIC insurance is for the government to protect/insure one's deposits in case the bank goes belly-up.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
What are the statute of limitations on this sort of act? Things date back to 2001 or before. Online it appears that it maybe 6 years uness there is a criminal enterprise.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
Correct on the six years. That's why it's important to contact law enforcement ASAP. Understand that any plea agreement could include restitution for the whole period of time.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What exactly constitute criminal enterprise since this may have been ongoing for 14 years?

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
It's really fact-specific. There's not a cookie-cutter mold for it. It can take a lot of different forms. As I indicated before, it will be up to law enforcement to conduct its investigation and see where the facts lead.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Is it true that you can get up to one year per check in prison for check fraud in MI?
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
No, not true.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
What is the usual sentencing? This is important to know especially since this is a family member we are talking about.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
It's not possible to predict.

As a general matter, sentencing is a matter of discretion for the judge.

Separately, there is no way to know what this person will be charged with, plead to, or be convicted of. There is no such thing as a "usual sentencing" in matters such as this.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Are there general sentencing guidelines? This is my wife's niece and she deserve punishment but I wouldn't want her to go away for 20 years or more.

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
It depends upon what she's charged with. If she's charged with a misdemeanor, no, there are not guidelines. If she's charged with felonies, then there are sentencing guidelines that can come into play but there is no way to utilize them at this point because you don't know what she will plea to or be convicted of, the involved amounts, her criminal history, etc. It's just not possible to score it at this juncture.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
She is 33 years old and has no criminal record but repeatedly came into our home taking one check out of our check book at a time for several years. Over the past 5 months she became gutsy enough to take one our check books and wrote out checks as she needed them. $28,500 since April 1 this year alone. Another 8 K if you go back to October 2009. Signed my wife's name on the signiture line and took them to the bank. Isn't this considered a felony.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
It depends upon how the prosecutor may want to proceed. A prosecutor may treat each check as a separate count and the severity of each charge would depend upon the value of each check.
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20231
Experience: Handling criminal and probation matters for over 14 years.
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