If you drive south of Ann Arbor on US 23 for about 30 minutes, you will come to Dundee, Michigan. The Monroe County village has a population of about 4,000 who are proud of their Old Mill Museum and Sterling State Park.
The small town recently learned that one of its residents is facing fraud charges. A 39-year-old Dundee woman is accused of selling a dozen sick puppies to unsuspecting customers. She was arrested by local law enforcement and charged with felony defrauding and false pretenses, according to a news report.
Law enforcement officials say most of the dogs sold by the woman fetched $800. At the times of the sales, the woman reportedly told the buyers that the dogs were healthy. She also said they had been registered with the American Kennel Club. Police allege that both of her claims were false.
Officials say that the puppies became sick after they were purchased. Some of them became very ill, they said, with several dying.
According to the news report, officials also said some of the owners spent “thousands of dollars” on vets and care while treating the dogs.
Dundee’s police chief said his department investigated the allegations against the suspect for a year before bringing charges. If she is convicted of felony defrauding and false pretenses, she faces a potential sentence of up to five years in a Michigan state prison or a fine of up to $10,000.
As you probably know, there are several conditions that have to be met before fraud can be proven. Perhaps the most important: the statement made must be known to be false by the person making the statement. In other words, in this case, the woman would have had to know that the puppies were sick when she claimed that they were healthy.
We do not know how this case will be resolved, but we do know that those facing harsh penalties should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney before talking to prosecutors.