Circuit Court LC No. 15-065924-FH
Before: K. F. Kelly, P.J., and O'Connell and Boonstra,
convicted defendant of two counts of uttering counterfeit
notes, MCL 750.253; one count of false pretenses of $1, 000
or more but less than $20, 000, MCL 750.218(4)(a); and, one
count of identity theft, MCL 445.65. Defendant was sentenced
as a second-offense habitual offender, MCL 769.10, to three
concurrent prison terms of two to seven and a half years and
one term of 12 months in jail. Defendant now appeals as of
right. Finding no errors warranting reversal, we affirm.
appeal arises out of the exchange of counterfeit money during
a Craigslist transaction, and the background facts involve
the fraudulent cashing of a check in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
27, 2014, Montay Lee participated in a basketball tournament
in South Haven, Michigan, at which time his bag containing a
variety of items, including his wallet, identification, and a
$1, 100 paycheck from the city of Grand Rapids, was stolen.
That same day, defendant cashed Lee's stolen check at
Hall Street Party Store in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Wasif
Hermiz, the owner of the party store, testified that
defendant showed him Lee's identification when cashing
the check. Additionally, because defendant was a new customer
and because the check was for a higher amount, Hermiz took
defendant's thumbprint and had him put it on the back of
Bourdon, the victim in the instant case, posted for sale a
1998 Pontiac Firebird on Craigslist for $2, 500. On or around
August 8, 2014, defendant and defendant's "mechanic,
" Marcus Lavar Smith test drove the Firebird. Defendant
agreed to the $2, 500 purchase price and handed Bourdon an
envelope consisting of a $100 bill, several $50 bills, and
approximately $150 to $200 worth of $10 bills. In exchange
for the money, Bourdon filled out the title work, indicating
that the purchaser was "Montay Lee."
co-worker, Jordan Sohasky testified that he witnessed the
transaction. After defendant and the mechanic left, both
Bourdon and Sohasky noted that the money looked funny.
Bourdon determined that there were no holograms on some of
the bills and Sohasky noticed that the bills were too thick.
Bourdon immediately called the police. A police officer
accompanied Bourdon to Comerica Bank where it was determined
that all of the money was counterfeit except for a $100 bill.
The Firebird was entered into Law Enforcement Information
Network as stolen.
hours later, defendant and another individual went to the
Secretary of State's Office in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A
worker testified that the individuals wanted to transfer a
vehicle title and change an address. The worker first changed
the address and put a change of address sticker on the back
of a Michigan license, which displayed the name "Montay
Lee." The worker saw that the vehicle was identified as
stolen. He went back into his office to contact the police
and the individuals left before he returned. The Firebird was
found approximately half of a mile away from the Secretary of
interview with police, defendant admitted to passing a check
at the Hall Street Party Store, but that "somebody"
offered him money to cash the check and that he did not know
that the check was stolen. Defendant had no knowledge of
passing any counterfeit money in Muskegon County and denied
being part of that transaction. There was no physical
evidence connecting defendant to the counterfeit money.
jury found defendant guilty of identity theft, two counts of
uttering counterfeit notes, and one count of false pretenses.
Defendant was sentenced as outlined above. He now appeals as
AMENDMENT OF INFORMATION
argues that the trial court erred by permitting the
prosecution to amend the information to add a count of
identity theft during trial because (1) the amendment was an
unfair surprise and ...