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AG Payroll Fraud Enforcement Unit Case Results in Guilty Plea

LANSING - A Lansing business owner accused of withholding more than $52,000 from employees' paychecks for retirement contributions that were never deposited or matched has pleaded guilty, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today. 

As the first to be criminally charged as the result of an investigation by the Department's Payroll Fraud Enforcement Unit, Camron Gnass, who owns Traction Advertising Agency in Lansing, was arraigned in 2019 on the following: 

  • four counts of larceny by conversion (more than $1,000 but less than $20,000), a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine or three times the value obtained, whichever is greater; 
  • four counts of larceny by false pretenses (more than $1,000 but less than $20,000), a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine or three times the value obtained, whichever is greater; 
  • four counts of receiving and concealing stolen or converted property (more than $1,000 but less than $20,000), a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine; and 
  • one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison with a maximum fine of $100,000. 

Earlier today before Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, Gnass pleaded guilty to: 

  • one count of larceny by conversion ($1,000 or more, but less than $20,000); and 
  • two added counts of larceny by conversion (less than $200), a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine or three times the value obtained, whichever is greater.  

The remaining charges were dropped, due in large part to Gnass successfully completing restitution payments in the case.  

As part of the plea agreement, Gnass admitted to withholding money from employees' paychecks for deferred retirement contributions and failing to deposit the funds into their accounts and paying the employer match. 

"Employees should never have to second guess where their hard-earned retirement money is going," Nessel said. "I acknowledge Mr. Gnass' admission of wrongdoing in this case and commend the hard work by our Payroll Fraud Enforcement Unit to reach this plea agreement." 

Gnass' sentencing is set for July 13 at 3 p.m. in front of Judge Aquilina. 

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