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ECU Diversion Programs

UPDATED: November 8, 2018

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ECU home page Merchant Tips Statistics Bad Check Diversion Retail Fraud Diversion Unreturned Rental Property Diversion

 



Bad Check


Bad Check Diversion Program

 

The Bad Check Diversion Program Works Because:

  • Bad Check report forms are easy to fill out and file, and follow-up action is prompt.
  • Upon recovery, 100% of the face value of the check is returned to the merchant, plus applicable bank charges.
  • There is no minimum dollar restriction.

 

Key Terms

  • Bad Check: A check that is not honored when presented at the bank. The bank may indicate that the check was dishonored due to "insufficient funds", "closed" or some other reason.
  • 5-day notice: A formal letter that lists the appropriate Michigan statute governing checks and instructs the bad check writer to make immediate payment or face prosecution.
  • Complaint: The form that begins a criminal proceeding in court. It contains sections for relevant information to identify your business, the bad check writer and details about the bad check.

 

Steps for Merchants:

Step 1: Present the check to your Bank
Before the Economic Crimes Unit (ECU) considers a check for prosecution, the check must be deposited with your bank, even if you suspect the check will not clear.

Step 2: Send the 5-Day Notice letter
Once the check returns as dishonored, you must use the notice form provided by the ECU and send the bad check writer a 5-day notice.

Step 3: Submitting Documents to the ECU
If the bad check writer does not respond within 10 days, completely fill out the complaint form provided by the ECU, attach photocopies of the dishonored check and notice letter sent, then mail all documents to the ECU.

 

 

Checks that are NOT accepted

  • Checks that are not passed in Eaton County.
  • The identity of the check writer is unknown.
  • Checks that are pre-dated.
  • Checks that are post-dated, or where an agreement was made to hold the check for later payment.
    (Merchants beware: if you accept post-dated checks you do so at your own risk, because the check's message is "there isn't enough money in the account to cover the check today"!)
  • Checks that are altered or suspected of being forgeries or counterfeit.
  • Two-party checks.
  • Payroll checks.
  • Stop-payment checks.
  • No amount, date or signature on the check.
  • Numeric and written amount on the check do not match.
  • Checks that are over 180 days old.

* * * NOTE: * * *
Checks that are ineligible for the
Eaton County Prosecuting Attorney's Bad Check Restitution Program
may still be eligible for collection by the Merchant
via small claims court or by a private collection agency.

 

Bad Check Diversion Program Forms & Documents

ECU Merchants' Complaint Form (21 kb)
ECU Notice Letter (8 kb)
Warning Sign for display by Merchants (13 kb)

 


 

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Retail Fraud Diversion Program

 

What is Retail Fraud?

Most people use the term "shoplifting". Michigan law calls it "retail fraud".

Retail fraud includes stealing merchandise from a store when it is open for business, switching price tags, and returning stolen merchandise. In instances of theft, the defendant does not have to leave the store itself or the store's property: passing all points of purchase without attempting to pay may be sufficient to prove the required intent to steal.


When are the next Retail Fraud Classes?

Retail Fraud classes are held the 2nd and 3rd Saturdays of every month.


How does the Retail Fraud Diversion Program work?

An Eaton County business that is the victim of a retail fraud files a formal complaint with the Prosecuting Attorney's Office. The Economic Crimes Unit (ECU) uses the following guidelines to determine eligibility of participants:

  • The case must involve theft of less than $200 (Retail Fraud 3rd Degree);
  • The participant did not fight, struggle or resist police or store employees;
  • The participant must not have any prior criminal convictions; and
  • The participant must not have participated in a diversion program before.

If the wrongdoer qualifies, then the ECU sends a formal letter to him/her detailing the steps required to resolve the matter. If the wrongdoer completes the necessary steps, the Prosecutor's office will not issue formal charges.

 

Steps Necessary to Complete the Retail Fraud Diversion Program
  • After receiving the formal contact letter, the participant must call to schedule an intake appointment and interview.
  • At the scheduled appointment date, participants must:When ALL four steps are completed the complaint will be closed without prosecution. If all four steps are not completed the participant has failed diversion, and will be formally prosecuted.
    1. Pay the applicable civil demand fee in a money order. A business can charge a civil demand up to 10 times the amount of the value of the item stolen, but the total civil demand can only be between $50 and $200;
    2. Pay a diversion fee to Eaton County in a money order ($275 for adults, $225 for juveniles);
    3. Complete a written statement and complete the diversion agreement; and
    4. Complete two cognitive thinking classes. Participants must bring an $80 fee on the first class date only.


Is the Retail Fraud Diversion program used only in adult cases?

Our Retail Fraud Diversion Program is used for both adult and juvenile wrongdoers.

 

 

Retail Fraud Diversion Program Forms & Documents

Cognitive Consultants: Informed Consent Form (30 kb)
Cognitive Consultants: Map to office (38 kb)

 


 

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Unreturned Rental Property
Diversion Program

 

The ECU now offers an Unreturned Rental Property diversion program. This diversion option was created to help businesses that rent items (e.g., cars, DVDs, etc.) to improve their bottom lines. The diversion program is free to businesses, and is designed to help with the recovery of past due rental property.

Michigan Compiled Laws 750.362a states that it is a crime for a renter to willfully fail to return rental property upon notification by the business. Based on the value of the rented item, punishment may range from a 93-day misdemeanor to a 10-year felony.

 

What does the Unreturned Rental Property Diversion program cover?

  • equipment rentals
  • library books
  • movie rentals (DVDs, etc.), including from libraries

 

NOTE:
The ECU's Rental Property Diversion program does NOT cover landlord-tenant cases (apartment rentals/leases).


How does the Rental Property Diversion Program work?

The Rental Property Diversion program will be similar to our Bad Check Diversion program. Businesses have the opportunity to file a complaint with the ECU if a renter does not return rental property on the due date. In order to use the program businesses must follow certain procedures.


Steps Necessary by the Merchant to Open a Case in the Unreturned Rental Property Diversion Program

  1. There must be a written rental agreement in place. The agreement must state:
    • A description of the rented property;
    • The date the item was rented and the date due for return; and
    • Location to which the rented property should be returned (address, city, state, zip code and county).
  2. A past due rental property notification letter must be sent to the renter/customer.
    • The notification must list the last known address of the renter.
    • The notification must be sent by certified or registered mail.
    • Allow the renter 10 days from the date of the notice to respond.
  3. If there is no response to the notice letter, submit the rental property complaint sheet by mail or fax to the ECU.
    • Attach a copy of rental agreement and notice letter with the complaint.

Businesses can recover the value or cost of the unreturned property, reasonable late fees and the certified or registered letter charge. Once a business files a complaint, the late fees are limited to those listed on the complaint. Late fees will not be calculated after a complaint is submitted.


What Happens After a Complaint is Filed?

  1. The ECU sends out a payment demand letter to the customer.
  2. If the suspect comes in and pays, prosecution will be declined.
  3. If the suspect does not respond or disagrees with the merchant's facts, we will consider prosecuting the case with formal charges.

 

Unreturned Rental Property Diversion Forms & Documents

Rental Property Diversion - Introduction Letter to Area Merchants (151 kb)
Rental Property Diversion - Merchant Notice Letter (send to Customer) (15 kb)
Rental Property Diversion - Merchant's Complaint Form (send to ECU) (26 kb)

 


 

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