Michigan Trial Lawyers

False Pretenses




The crime of False Pretenses occurs when a person obtains property or money by means of fraud or misrepresentation. Per the Michigan False Pretenses statute:

A person who, with the intent to defraud or cheat, makes or uses a false pretense to do 1 or more of the following is guilty of a crime:

  • Cause a person to grant, convey, assign, demise, lease, or mortgage land or an interest in land.

  • Obtain a person's signature on a forged written instrument.

  • Obtain from a person any money or personal property or the use of any instrument, facility, article, or other valuable thing or service.

  • By means of a false weight or measure obtain a larger amount or quantity of property than was bargained for.

  • By means of a false weight or measure sell or dispose of a smaller amount or quantity of property than was bargained for.

What is the Definition of a False Pretense Under Michigan Law?

“False pretense" includes, but is not limited to, a false or fraudulent representation, writing, communication, statement, or message, communicated by any means to another person, that the maker of the representation, writing, communication, statement, or message knows is false or fraudulent. The false pretense may be a representation regarding a past or existing fact or circumstance or a representation regarding the intention to perform a future event or to have a future event performed.

In order to convict a person for False Pretenses, a prosecutor would have to prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. A false representation as to an existing fact

  2. Knowledge by the defendant of the falsity of the representation

  3. Use of the false representation with an intent to deceive

  4. Detrimental reliance on the false representation by the victim

What is the Punishment for False Pretenses?

The punishment for False Pretenses depends upon the value of the property which was misappropriated.

 Value of Property / Maximum Punishment

  • Under $200 : 93 days and/or $500 fine

  • $200 but less than $1,000: 1 year and/or $2,000 fine

  • $1,000 but less than $20,000: 5 years and/or $10,000 fine

  • $20,000 but less than $50,000: 10 years and/or $15,000 fine

  • $50,000 but less than $100,000: 15 years and/or $25,000 fine

  • $100,000 or greater: 20 years and/or$50,000 fine

Additionally, the court may impose the statutory fine or a fine of triple the value involved, whichever is greater.  This fine is in addition to restitution, including reimbursement to third parties, so the amounts can be substantial.

Michigan White-Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers

Any conviction involving fraud, theft or dishonesty has the potential to cause long-term consequences, particularly for employment and background checks. It is vitally important that you have an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer fighting for your freedom and your reputation. The criminal defense attorneys at Jeffrey Buehner, PLLC have over 23 years of experience defending white-collar crimes like False Pretenses. Call now for a free consultation.





31700 West 13 Mile Road
Suite 96
Farmington Hills, MI 48334




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