The Criminal Defense Law Center of
West Michigan

Larceny By Conversion

What Is Larceny?

Larceny by conversion is a theft crime that is a little different than other theft crimes in Michigan. In order to complete this crime, a person must gain property or possessions by cheating someone.  Michigan law punishes people harshly for cheating someone out of their possessions or property. The more valuable the item stolen, the tougher the penalties gets. A person who is facing this charge could face prison time, high fines, court costs and a long term of probation.

Larceny is an old common law charge that was brought over by our founders from England hundreds of years ago. Over the centuries, the vast majority of states and even England have eliminated larceny from their books. Instead of larceny, new categories of theft crimes were created such as burglary, theft and robbery. Michigan is one of the last states around that still have a crime called larceny on the books.

Under Michigan law, Larceny by conversion is,

  “Any person to whom any money, goods or other property, which may be the subject of larceny, shall have been delivered, who shall embezzle or fraudulently convert to his own use, or shall secrete with the intent to embezzle, or fraudulently use such goods, money or other property, or any part thereof, shall be deemed by so doing to have committed the crime of larceny and shall be punished as provided in the first section of this chapter.”

There are other kinds of larceny crimes in Michigan. There is a second crime called Larceny from an Automobile. In order to prove a person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt the people of the state of Michigan must show that,

  1. The accused removed something from a car
  2. The item was taken without consent of the owner
  3. The property taken was in or at least on the car
  4. There was some kind of movement of the property. The prosecutor must not show that the defendant kept the property
  5. The accused intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property.

Larceny from a person is the third theft crime on the books in Michigan. In order to get a successful conviction on this charge, the prosecutor must show that the defendant

  1. Took the property of another person
  2. The property taken was done so without consent
  3. There was movement of the property
  4. When the property was taken, it was taken from the immediate control or presence of a person
  5. The defendant intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property

Larceny from a Building is a crime where the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant

  1. The accused took property that belonged to someone else
  2. The property taken was done so without consent
  3. The property taken was located in a building
  4. The defendant moved the property
  5. The property had some values when it was taken
  6. The accused intended to deprive the owner of the property permanently

Finally, there is Larceny by Trick. This crime deals with a defendant having a special, temporary or limited purpose for having possession of the property. The owner of the property has no intention of handing over full-time ownership. While the defendant has temporary ownership, the accused does something that they know was not part of the agreement and then has control of the property without consent.

Definition of Conversion

The idea of conversion is another concept that goes back to England. The definition of this word is taking an action towards an that interferes with the rights of the true owner. Most of the time this means taking another person’s property and using it as your own. A classic example of this is someone finding a lost wallet and not returning it to the rightful owner. By doing this you are converting that wallet for your own use. This is a text book example of Larceny by Conversion.

Punishment for Larceny Charges

If the property stolen is less than $200, this larceny is a misdemeanor charge under Michigan law. You may hear a lawyer, prosecutor or judge refer to this crime as “petty larceny” or “petty theft.” This crime has a punishment of up to 93 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500 or three times the value of the stolen property.  

If the person caught stealing does so in a store, and the value of the property is less than $200 or the price of the good was altered and the result was a difference of under $200, they will also face up to 93 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.

If the property valued was over $200 and $1000 or less, this charge is still a misdemeanor under Michigan law, but the penalties jump up! The total time someone can spend in the slammer is one full year! The maximum fine is now up to $2,000 or three times the value of the property taken.

Felony Larceny Charges

If property taken is valued at $1,000 and no more than $20,000, the time of possible incarceration a person faces is five full years in prison!  The maximum fine is huge as $10,000 or three times the value of the property stolen.

If there is a value of over $20,00 or more of property stolen, a person is facing up to ten years in prison. The fine the court can hand out for someone who commits the crime is 15,000 or three times the value of the property converted.

Why You Need to Hire A Skillful Defense Attorney

No matter what charge a person is facing in Michigan, there are part of the crime called elements and a prosecutor must proven these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. It is one of the most important parts of a defense lawyers’ job: going through the evidence to see if a prosecutor can convince a jury that these elements have been proven in order to convict you of Larceny or Larceny by Conversion. 

Attorney Shawn Haff and his team of tough lawyers are obligated to make sure their clients rights were not violated. They are required to make sure their clients are given the full protection of the law. They will gather the evidence and then give you a road map of a valid defense that you can apply to your case!

skillful defense attorney will work hard to cast doubt on every element of the prosecutor’s case. The right attorney will work to apply the rules of evidence against the prosecutor’s case. There are many cases where a person ends up going to jail for a crime they didn’t commit because the right attorney was not hired to work on the case. Do not hire another attorney without talking to Shawn first at 616-438-6719! The call is free, so you have nothing to lose! Don’t wait, call now!