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  • Schuette Recovers More Than $95,000 in Back Child Support for Michigan Family A.G. Bill Schuette announced his Child Support Division has recovered approximately $95,625.78 in arrearages from Jesse Pace, 41, of Wasilla, Alaska for felony non-support. Pace is a former resident of Clare, Michigan.

    "No matter who you are or where you live, you cannot run from the responsibility to provide for your children - we will hold you accountable," said Schuette."If you are able to pay child support but fail to do so, you must face the consequences."

    Schuette noted his Child Support Division targets parents who have the ability to pay, but refuse to do so with the goal of non-custodial parents resuming regular child support payments, not jail time. Read more: http://bit.ly/1PSo81w



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Schuette Recovers More Than $95,000 in Back Child Support for Michigan Family

 

April 13, 2015           

LANSING  – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced his Child Support Division has recovered approximately $95,625.78 in arrearages from Jesse Pace, 41, of Wasilla, Alaska for felony non-support. Pace is a former resident of Clare, Michigan.

"No matter who you are or where you live, you cannot run from the responsibility to provide for your children - we will hold you accountable," said Schuette."If you are able to pay child support but fail to do so, you must face the consequences."

Background on Pace Case

In March 2015, Pace was arrested by Alaska State Police at his Wasilla home on a warrant filed by Schuette for failing to pay years of child support for his daughter in Clare.  Schuette's office began the extradition process for Pace to face charges in Michigan, but dismissed charges after he paid arrears of $95,625.78, the total amount due in back child support payments and penalties.

In 1999, a court order was filed in Clare's 55th Circuit directing Pace to pay the back child support owed to his daughter. After Pace failed to pay child support, Schuette's Child Support Division filed a felony warrant against him in 2006 in Clare's 80th District Court.

Pace led a nomadic lifestyle, leaving a trail in North Carolina, Florida, Washington, and ending up in Alaska. Pace currently owns a 4,600 square foot home estimated to be worth more than $500,000 in Wasilla.

Attorney General Child Support Division

 More than 14,000 Michigan children have received child support funds owed to them since the Attorney General's Child Support Division was launched in 2003.  Since its launch, the office has averaged approximately 900 warrants for felony nonsupport and 700 arrests per year. This case marks one of the Child Support Division's largest single collections of child support arrearages to date. Today, fifty percent of prosecutions handled by Schuette's Child Support Division involve non-custodial parents who live outside of Michigan.

Schuette noted the Child Support Division focuses on those parents who have an ability to pay, but refuse to do so.  Michigan is the only state to make failure to pay child support a four-year felony.  Schuette said his office focuses on non-custodial parents resuming regular child support payments, not jail time.  As a result, Michigan kids are paid what they are owed and subsequently receive consistent support into the future.  Oftentimes the recognition of potential criminal prosecution is enough to encourage a non-custodial parent to act before setting foot in a courtroom.

Schuette notes the Attorney General Child Support Division pays for itself, collecting $22 in child support for every $1 in State general funds invested in its operation.  In addition to recovering funds for Michigan families, the Child Support Division recovers taxpayer dollars spent to assist needy families when they do not receive the child support to which they are entitled. 

Schuette encourages custodial parents currently not receiving support to file an online request with his office at www.michigan.gov/ag

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Schuette Charges Macomb County Man with Multiple Felonies for Child Pornography

 

  April 6, 2015           

LANSING  – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that his Criminal Division has filed criminal charges against Anthony Modrzejewski, 39, of St. Clair Shores, for allegedly possessing and distributing child pornography as well as videotaping an unclothed person. Schuette charged Modrzejewski with ten counts of possessing child sexually abusive material, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine; and, ten counts of distributing or promoting child sexually abusive material, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine; and, one count of Using a Computer to Commit a Crime, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine; and, one count of Videotaping an Unclothed Person, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. Charges resulted from a Michigan Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) investigation.

            “As a father and as Attorney General, I understand our responsibility to secure justice for Michigan’s most vulnerable victims by prosecuting predators who exploit children,” said Schuette. “Downloading child pornography is not a victimless crime – the children in those pictures and videos are abused again and again by the predators that download and trade their image.”

            Modrzejewski is accused of possessing numerous images of child pornography and was arrested on April 2, 2015 by the Michigan ICAC and St. Clair Shores Police Department. Modrzejewski was arraigned on April 2, 2015 before Magistrate Mark Metry at St. Clair Shores 40th District Court. He was assigned a $250,000 cash/surety bond and is next due in court on April 14 for a preliminary examination. He is currently incarcerated in the Macomb County Jail.

            “I am grateful for the help and hard work of the Michigan ICAC Task Force. These dedicated men and women of public safety help patrol the Internet for instances of crimes against children, and Michigan is better because of their efforts to crack down on sexual predators. Thank you to the St. Clair Shores Police Department for your help and hard work on this case also.”

            The Michigan ICAC Task Force is comprised of members from the Michigan Attorney General, Detroit Police Department, United States Secret Service, Michigan Department of Corrections.

            Modrzejewski is pronounced Mod-Jes-Skee.

            A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Modrzejewski Mug Shot

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Schuette Announces 30-99 Years for Detroit Man Guilty of Defrauding Victims With Faith-Based Scam

 

  April 3, 2015           

LANSING  – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that the Freedom By Faith Ministries (FBF) mastermind, Anthony Carta, 53, of Detroit, who was convicted of swindling thousands of dollars from his victims in a fake mortgage assistance scheme, has been sentenced.

                On April 2, 2015, Judge Michael Warren, in Pontiac’s 6th Circuit Court, sentenced Anthony Carta to 30-99 years in prison in addition to ordering his company, FBF, to pay more than $674,000 in restitution associated with his conviction on seven felonies related to his formation of a faith-based mortgage assistance scam.

                “Anthony Carta scammed his friends and neighbors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars under the guise of faith,” said Schuette. “While we can never undo the damage done to these victims, we have secured them justice and can make sure they’re never victimized by Anthony Carta again.”

From 2009 through 2013, Carta defrauded more than 100 victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. His victims believed he was going to assist them with their mortgage through FBF. Carta instead pocketed the money and did nothing to assist the victims with their mortgages.

Case Background

On March 9, 2015, in Pontiac’s 6th Circuit Court, Judge Michael Warren convicted Anthony Carta and FBF of the following seven charges filed by Schuette in Southfield’s 46th District Court on April 2, 2014:

  • One count of Conducting a Criminal Enterprise, a 20 year felony;

  • One count of false pretenses $20,000 or more but less than $50,000, a fifteen year felony; and,

  • Five counts of false pretenses $1,000 or more, but less than $20,000, five year felonies all.


Freedom By Faith Ministries, Carta’s enterprise, was ordered to pay $674,001.17 in restitution to its victims, and Carta himself was ordered to pay $400,000 in victim restitution.

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Schuette Warns Consumers of Online Ticket Scams

 

  April 3, 2015           

LANSING  – Attorney General Bill Schuette today issued an alert through his Consumer Protection Division advising consumers to be wary of online ticket purchasing scams. The warning comes ahead of the busy spring and summer concert and event seasons, and as many fans look at purchasing NCAA Final Four or Championship game tickets.

            “Spring and summer concerts and events should not be soured by online ticket scammers looking to make a quick buck,” said Schuette.  “Make sure you're buying your event tickets from a reputable online vendor and do your homework to avoid counterfeiting and identity theft.”

 

Top Tips from Schuette’s Online Ticket Scams Consumer Alert

Schuette offers the following tips to consider before buying tickets online: 

  • Know your vendor.  When purchasing tickets online, consumers should ensure the website is reputable, especially before providing any personal financial information.  Anyone can set up a “spoof” website and make it seem like it is the official website of a legitimate venue or ticket outlet.  Counterfeiting is also a common problem on websites that function as online classified postings. When using such sites, consumers should be especially wary of tickets that are listed for sale “by owner,” as these tickets are brokered by individual purchasers rather than official venues.

  • Do your research.  If unfamiliar with a ticket vendor, consumers may call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-765-8388 and ask if there are any complaints on file regarding that seller.  Remember, however, that the absence of a filed complaint does not guarantee a seller’s legitimacy; it simply means that no complaints have been lodged concerning the vendor. 

  • Use a credit card.  Schuette recommends completing online transactions using a credit card which gives consumers the ability to dispute a charge for an event cancellation. This will also be helpful if a fraudulent website issues a counterfeit ticket a venue refuses to honor. Choose sellers with histories of satisfied customers, and make sure the online bid amount is listed in American dollars.

  • Shop securely.  If a website begins with “https,” the “s” indicates that the website is “secure.” Consumers may see this when accessing the order page of the site where you are asked to enter your personal information.  Another indicator of a secure website is an image of a closed lock located at the bottom of the computer screen.  Secure websites take precautions to ensure that others cannot see and copy the personal information provided.   

  • Inspect your tickets.  Consumers should physically inspect tickets if purchased through a third-party source.  The venue may also offer feedback about unique features of authentic tickets.  The tickets should be examined for discrepancies, including text misspellings, official hologram omissions, and bar code irregularities. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.                           

            Unfortunately, special events like concerts or festivals are sometimes cancelled without much advance notice by the venue or promoter.  When such cancellations occur, the venue, promoter, or other associated planners will sometimes provide consumers with refunds. Other times, the purchased tickets may be honored at a later event. Concerned consumers may read more about avoiding ticket scams at the Attorney General's consumer alert entitled, “Online Ticket Purchasing.

            For additional tips on how to safely shop online, please see the Attorney General's consumer alert entitled, “Tis the Season for Protecting Yourself When Making Purchases.”

            Consumers with a complaint regarding tickets purchased online may contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at:

Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 30213
Lansing, MI 48909
517-373-1140, Toll free: 877-765-8388
Fax: 517-241-3771
www.mi.gov/ag (online complaint form)

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Schuette Charges U.S. Border Patrol Agents For Misconduct, Theft While On Duty

 

March 20, 2015           

LANSING  – Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that his Public Integrity Unit (PIU) has charged United States Border Patrol Agents Terence (Terry) Mitchell Bruce, 43, of St. Clair Shores and Stanley Lyle Nicholson, 45, of Romulus with felony theft and misconduct in office.  These charges follow an investigation by the Michigan State Police and Schuette's PIU.

 "Confidence in public safety is of utmost importance," said Schuette.  "As Attorney General, I have a responsibility to enforce the law and ensure public integrity. Taxpayers deserve honesty and accountability from those who work on their behalf."

"Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction," said R. Alan Booth, acting Chief Patrol Agent, U.S. Border Patrol Detroit Sector. "We do not tolerate corruption within our ranks, and we take these allegations very seriously."

            It is alleged that last December, while executing an agency authorized search warrant, Bruce and Nicholson each unlawfully removed an item from a residence for personal use.

On March 19, 2015, Schuette filed the following charges against Bruce and Nicholson in Jackson County's 12th District Court:

  • One count each of Misconduct in Office; a felony punishable by up to 5-years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine; and,

  • One count each of Larceny in a Building; a felony punishable by up to 5-years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine

Both defendants surrendered themselves to the proper authorities and were arraigned on March 20, 2015 before 12th District Court Judge Joseph S. Filip. Judge Filip set personal bond for each at $25,000.  The defendants are next due in court next on March 27, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. for a preliminary exam conference. Both defendants are due in court also on April 8, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. for their preliminary hearing.

Schuette's Public Integrity Unit

On January 4, 2011, Attorney General Schuette created a new Public Integrity Unit (PIU) in the Attorney General's office to ratchet up the fight against corruption in state and local government, protect tax dollars and restore the public's trust in government.  The Public Integrity Unit allows the office to put an increased focus on public corruption cases, a priority Schuette identified upon taking office.

Since taking office in 2011, Schuette's PIU has filed 313 charges against 64 individuals holding positions of public trust, including state and local government officials.  To date, 45 defendants have been sentenced following their convictions on a total of 126 charges.

        A criminal charge is merely an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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