Author Archives: Matt Van Steenkiste
Are you currently being pursued in a debt collection action? Communication between the debt collection agency and yourself can mean more than you think. Collections agency and debt collections law firms are regularly trying to navigate their way around the Federal Debt Collections Practices Act. The FDCPA is a federal law that prevents collections agencies from using nefarious methods to collect debts from their targets. While the law is a good step in consumer advocacy, organizations still find ways to use unfair practices in pursuing your current or future income. Part of the FDCPA prohibits a debt collector from using “any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt”. However, what constitutes a false, deceptive, or misleading representation is not always obvious. Further, when a communication is in connection with the collection of debt can vary as well.
If you are having trouble with a debt collector, or have been sued by a law firm such as Leikin Ingber and Winters PC, call Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message
In the past Leikin Ingber and Winters PC has represented clients such as St. John’s Hospital, Flagstar Bank, Beaumont Hospitals, and other regional and national banks and hospitals,even insurance providers they are located in Southfield Michigan, and we have dealt with them them numerous times over the years.
If you have an outstanding debt, have been harassed by collections agencies, contacted by illegitimate debt collections scams, or pursued by a law firm such as Leikin Ingber and Winters PC, the attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC are here to fight for you. Please contact Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 or send us a private message.
Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly withholding assets for the purpose of theft. More specifically, embezzlement is financial fraud, an example of this would be a financial advisor who embezzle the funds of his investors. The act of embezzlement is normally a premeditated act that is methodically performed since the embezzler needs to cover their tracks. In order to remain undetected, embezzlers might take small sums throughout the years. While embezzlement can be seen as a clear-cut case, the act of embezzlement can be broken down.
Breaking Down the Crime
In the U.S., embezzlement is a statutory offense and the definition of the crime of embezzlement varies according to the given statue. The criminal elements of embezzlement can range from fraudulent to Lawful possession. Here is the breakdown of each element:
- Fraudulence– This requires that the embezzler willfully, and without claim of right or mistake, converted the entrusted property to his or her own use.
- Criminal Conversion– Embezzlement is a crime against ownership, such as voiding the right of the owner to control the disposition and use of the property entrusted to them. Criminal conversion requires substantial interference with the property rights of the owner.
- Property– Embezzlement statues are written so that they do not limit the scope of the crime to conversions of personal property. The statues also include the conversion of tangible personal property, intangible personal property and choses in action. The exception is real property not being included, such as real estate or realty of any kind.
- Of Another– The embezzler does not have to be a second or third party individual(s). A person can also embezzle their own property. Reasons might include to hiding money from the government for tax reasons or giving money to an ex during divorce proceedings.
- Lawful Possession– A key element in an embezzlement case is that the embezzler had been in lawful possession of the property during the time of the fraudulent conversion. This helps differentiate the case from larceny, since larceny is if the thief merely had custody of the property.
Troy Embezzlement Lawyer
Entrusting your property to someone else should not mean that it gets stolen out from under you. If you have had your assets embezzled then it is time to hire a lawyer. At Garmo & Kiste, we have lawyers experienced in embezzlement cases to make sure you get the justice you deserve. For a free consultation, contact us at (248)398-7100.
If you owe a creditor money, they have various ways they can go about collecting a debt, some more friendly to the debtor than others. But the most direct avenue a creditor can use to collect debt is to hire a aggressive law firm or debt collection agency. The Stillman Law Office is just that, and once hired, they will use all of their resources to collect what they can from you. Law offices and debt collections agencies regularly add interest or fees on to your debt to make their collections more profitable. These fees often go unnoticed by their targets, who typically just have a sincere interest in settling their debts, and don’t have the resources to accurately tabulate interest. If the Stillman Law Office, or any debt collector has used these practices against you, then they could be in violation of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and we can help. If you are having trouble with a debt collector or have been sued by a law firm such as the Stillman Law Office, call Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
The Stillman Law Office, and many debt collection agencies use of state of the art ‘collection partner’ software system, which is tailored specifically to their needs of tracking accounts and handling all phases of the collection. This is a particularly scary aspect of being a target of a collection agency, as they are usually working with a business that has a wealth of personal information about you that the agency can use to find and collect from you. This information generally includes birthdays, social security numbers, addresses, and phone numbers. Further, the Stillman Law Office promises fast recovery to their clients in the form of law suits, judgments, attachments, repossessions, and both wage and bank garnishments.
The personal information that agencies have is important to keep in mind because not all debt collection communications are necessarily legitimate. Different from the legitimate debt collection actions taken by action creditors, debt collection scams are increasingly common. Consumers have reported frightening phone calls demanding payment of outstanding payday or even check cashing loans. Sometimes these callers claim to be a representative of a law firm, or even the government, and probably won’t abide by the rules of the FDCPA.
Dealing with debt collectors, legitimate or otherwise, can be a draining and painful experience. If you are in this position the attorneys at Garmo & Kiste, PLC are here to fight for you.
If you have outstanding debt, have been harassed by a debt collection agency or contacted by a law firm such the Stillman Law Office, please contact us at (248) 398-7100 or send us a private message.
More subject specific information, please click on the following Article links:
- Arbitration Defense
- Car / Automobile Repossession Defense
- Collections Defense
- Credit Card Debt Collection for an Authorized User
- Mortgage and Equity Line Negotiation
- Personal Guarantees Concerning Business Debts
- Remove a Wage, Tax or Bank Garnishment
- Installment Payment Orders
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One of the most common criminal offenses committed by university students is a minor in possession of alcohol (MIP). While many students believe this is “no big deal” and that many of their friends have been in their same position, handling a minor in possession charge in the wrong way can have lifelong effects on your criminal record, and even your career.
Under Michigan Liquor Control Code 436.1703, a minor shall not purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic liquor, consume or attempt to consume alcoholic liquor, possess or attempt to possess alcoholic liquor, or have any bodily alcohol content.
A violation of this results in a misdemeanor, along with which there are fines, and a permanent mark on your record.
The penalty for a Minor in Possession may not seem harsh to you as a college student, but a permanent blotch on your criminal record can likely have serious consequences once one leaves university and enters the job market. In today’s economy, hiring employers are looking for any little attribute to separate job candidates from one another. Most commonly, they will accomplish this by doing a criminal background check. A small blotch on your record can be the difference between landing that job you’ve worked so hard through college for.
The potential long lasting consequences on students convicted of Minor in Possession are so burdensome that they have even caught the attention of those in Lansing. State Senator Rick Jones is sponsoring Senate Bill 332, which would change the penalty for Minor in Possession by keeping the fines but removing the threat of jail time or a permanent criminal record. The bill has received some support in Lansing as many believe current penalties are just too damaging to those convicted. This is certainly Jones’ motivation for sponsoring the bill, as he stated “Young people have found that having a misdemeanor on their record prevents them from getting college scholarships, sometimes getting into college, and certainly it affects future job prospects.”
While legislators are trying to lessen the harsh penalties assessed to those convicted of a Minor in Possession, they have yet been unsuccessful, and current rules are still in effect. It is vital to those who have been charged with a Minor in Possession to seek an experience criminal defense attorney to reduce the risk of life-long consequences.
Call our Minor in Possession Attorneys
If you have been charged with Minor in Possession of Alcohol and are a student, contact the Minor In Possession of Alcohol Metro Detroit Lawyers at Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.. As alumni of Wayne State University Law School, we know the value of a good education and know how important it is to start your career off right. We have all of the tools needed to minimize the negative impact of the charges you received and we bring years of experience and individualized attention to every case we handle.
What Constitutes Prostitution?
The practice of engaging in sexual relations in exchange for payment or some other means which benefits you, is illegal in the state of Michigan. The law prohibits both the practice and participation of the act. Which is why many who do practice it tend to do so in secret, but there are times when police catch wind of such activity and go undercover to catch individuals. Here is what you need to know were you caught in such a compromising position.
There are specific laws when it comes to prostitution. In Michigan, they include several that include those aiding and abetting prostitutes. Here are a few of them:
- 750.448- A person of 16 years of age or older who accosts, solicits, or invites another individual in a public place, building, or vehicle to commit prostitution or a lewd act is a punishable crime.
- 750.449- A person 16 years of age or older who receives or offers to admit a person into a place, structure, or vehicle for the purpose of prostitution can also be convicted of a crime.
- 750.449a-A male person who engages or offers to engage a female person, that is not his partner or wife, for prostitution or a lewd act in exchange for payment, be it money or other compensation, can be convicted of a crime.
- 750.450- A person 16 years of age or older who aids, assists, or abets another person to commit and act prohibited by the above mentioned laws is also subjected to punishment.
Repercussions of Engaging in Prostitution
A person convicted of violating these laws and are guilty of a misdemeanor are punishable by imprisonment a maximum of 93 days and/or a fine of $500.
A person 16 years of age or older, who also has 1 prior conviction, and is found guilty of a misdemeanor can be punished with imprisonment of 1 year and/or a fine of $1,000.
If you have 2 or more prior convictions, violating the above laws can be punished with up to 2 years in prison and/or a fine of $2,000.
Detroit Prostitution Lawyer
If you are caught in violation of any of these laws, it would be in your best interest to hire legal representation. At Garmo & Kiste PLC, we are experienced in cases that involve violations of Michigan’s prostitution laws. Do not let your freedom go to chance, contact us at (248)398-7100 for a free consultation.
Being sentenced with criminal charges can lead you on a roller coaster of emotions. It is a stressful time filled with anxiety and can be scary. Hiring a criminal defense attorney can ease your panic by guiding you through the ordeal. When facing serious issues such as jail time, an experienced attorney can work their magic to minimize sentencing or garner a plea deal.
To reduce a sentence, your defense lawyer must negotiate a deal or plea bargain with the prosecutor. In most cases, not only will these deals reduce the sentence but may eliminate some of the charges brought against you. If the court were to find you guilty, a defense attorney is equipped to negotiate lesser time or offer a rehabilitation center as an alternative. Throughout your case, your attorney will advise you the best routes to take when negotiating your deal.
Navigating Your Case
While a defense attorney is not a therapist, they can reduce the anxiety that comes with facing a criminal trial. They do so by going over the realities and legalities of your case. They will also go over court rules and regulations. You can feel secure knowing that their experience enables them to navigate the system with ease. They are also well-verses in unspoken rules that can help reduce your sentence.
Your defense attorney is able to expertly handle the evidence and eyewitness statements for your case. They can procure everything necessary to build your case. Witnesses even respond much more positively to a lawyer than by speaking openly.
Macomb County Criminal Attorney
You always have the right to properly defend yourself and doing so during a criminal case is of the upmost importance. Prosecutors and city attorneys are often willing to negotiate a deal. Residents of Macomb County have the attorneys at Garmo & Kiste at their disposal. Our attorneys are well-versed in cases pertaining to your criminal defense. Do not risk your rights and contact one of our attorneys at (248)398-7100.
As part of the continuing “Judge Online” movement, several local courts recently signed with a software service that allows civil infractions, or even low level misdemeanor crimes to be handled online. Programs such as these are part of an increasing move to make courts more efficient. However, we still wouldn’t recommend that you go out try to negotiate your own ticket or misdemeanor.
The problem lies in the nature of the procedure the software requires. Per their own directions, step 2 is “if you’re willing to admit guilt but would like to negotiate for a lesser charge, you compose an explanation of your circumstances-perhaps even a justification of your actions- and submit it through the court’s website.” This is the exact opposite of how our attorneys would recommend that you proceed. Once you have admitted guilt, there is no incentive left for prosecutors and city attorneys to come to a deal. All they would have to do if you fought a ticket was prove your guilt. If you have just admitted guilt, why would they offer you a better deal? You have done their job for them. Even if this system provides marginally better deals, it does not match the value of meeting a prosecutor face to face to argue your case. Showing you are willing to hire an attorney to show up and fight your ticket demonstrates that you are not going to go away easily, and it is in the prosecutor’s best interest to give you a great deal.
The 74th District, 14A District, and 30th District courts are betting at you won’t do more than log on and ask for a reduction in the charge. However, it is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. Are you going to be satisfied with a slight reduction in the charge or do you want the best deal available? If you don’t want to roll the dice with your traffic record, or criminal record contact Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
Ann Arbor, Bay County and Highland Park Courts Online
Wondering about the new Michigan expungement law changes. Michigan law may now allow you to get a conviction removed from the public record? If so, you should be aware of changes to Michigan’s expungement statute.
Expungement allows a person who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor to set aside that conviction and take the matter off the public record. When a conviction is on the public record it allows employers to see it when doing criminal history background checks. Therefore, expungement is crucial to those with a criminal conviction who are trying to get a second chance.
Michigan’s previous law would allow a person who has one felony conviction to apply to have that conviction expunged. Further, it would allow a person with two misdemeanor convictions to apply to have both of those convictions expunged. To apply, one must have completed probation, discharged from parole or finished imprisonment. Also, the applicant would have to wait a mandatory period of time starting on the date of sentencing.
However, the new law has made this process more difficult for the applicant. The mandatory period of time an applicant must wait after sentencing remains five years. Also, convictions for several common traffic offenses are still unable to be set aside, such as Operating While Intoxicated.
The most serious change is the new laws treatment of Deferrals and Dismissals. Generally, some misdemeanor violations allow a first time offender to defer his sentencing. Upon completion of probation, the charges to the offender would be dismissed. The new treatment of this rule provides that dismissals from deferrals would still be counted as a misdemeanor conviction when eligibility for expungement is being determined. Therefore, a first time offender who receives a deferred sentence, and whose case is ultimately dismissed, will still be effected by that dismissal if ever apply for expungement of another misdemeanor or felony.
In terms of expungement, it is important to distinguish the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is any offense punishable by not more than one year imprisonment, or a fine. A felony in this state is an offense punishable by more than one year of imprisonment. Therefore, a misdemeanor carrying a punishment of more than one year is defined as a felony.
Expungment is an extremely helpful tool in giving those with past criminal convictions a second chance. Those living with a conviction on their public record know so well how difficult it can be to find employment and give back to society. However, expungment can be a risky process for the applicant, as in the event the petition is denied, now one cannot re-file for another three years.
The dreaded day of April 15th is quickly approaching. Remember that you MUST file your return or request an extension to file by October 15th on this day to avoid penalties. It is important to keep in mind that when filing an extension, it is only an extension for filing purposes, NOT an extension on your obligation to pay. The amount due from the previous year’s tax return can be used as a guide to what you have to pay this year. We recommend that you always go to an experienced certified public accountant or tax attorney.
What happens if you cannot pay the balance due or have past due taxes?
With the dismal Michigan economy, there are many taxpayers who cannot afford to pay their tax debt. This results in the debt moving to the collection departments of the IRS or State. Whether it is personal taxes or business taxes that are owed, the IRS and State of Michigan are aggressive collectors. They have the ability to garnish your tax refunds, file liens on your property, garnish your paychecks, and even levy your bank accounts. They may even knock on your front door!
What we can do for you:
Fortunately the IRS does have an Offer in Compromise program. The State of Michigan, much like other states, has finally passed legislation for an Offer in Compromise program which began January 1, 2015. A “fresh start” program has been implemented allowing more lenient guidelines. Some notable Offer in Compromises accepted this past month for qualifying taxpayers have been:
-A onetime payment of $200 on an IRS debt of $75,000
-A onetime payment of $150 on an IRS debt of $25,000
In order to qualify, the State or IRS may want financial information from you such as, whether you or your spouse are working, if you have any medical hardship, if you own your own home or other property, and your bank statements. This information will be used to determine if you are eligible per their guidelines for a reduction in liability. Tax debt can be a stressful burden. If you have questions about your past due tax liability, or to retain a Michigan IRS Tax Debt Attorney / Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
Commit any crimes today? After you read this, you may be less sure of your answer. A report was recently published, “Overcriminalization in the Wolverine State,” outlining how out of control our legislatures have become. To clarify, there is not a higher crime rate in Michigan, there are just more crimes a person can be accused and/or convicted of. For example, recently our office represented an individual for the egregious misdemeanor of failing to have a lid on their trashcan. Some other examples from the article include:
■One man who disposed of scrap tires at a facility he thought was legal was sentenced to 270 days in prison and a $10,000 fine for unlawfully disposing of the tires since the facility did not have a license.
■A few years ago, a woman faced charges for operating an illegal day care simply because she helped her neighbor’s children get on the morning school bus.
■Other pitfalls include driving motor vehicles in a state wilderness area, purchasing a new or used motor vehicle on the weekend and transporting Christmas trees without a bill of sale.
■And here’s a sampling of new laws passed in 2012: It’s a crime to display any material containing the name of an elected Michigan official at a polling site; and also illegal to display an owner’s contact information on a barge.
While it is admirable for legislators to legislate against serious crimes, this proliferation of laws can have several unintended consequences. First, it can entrap law abiding citizens. We don’t want courts to waste their time pursuing non dangerous offenders. Secondly, this can divert law enforcement efforts away from dangerous criminals. Finally, a confusing legal code can lead to inconsistent applications of the laws, whether through mistake, or by design. Many of these esoteric laws are rarely used, and can be used as tools of oppression against communities that are more heavily surveyed by the police.
There is one consequence of these crimes that seems was fairly likely intentional: it brings in revenue for the state and municipalities. If you have been a victim of overzealous lawmakers, or to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.