Judge throws out felony charges against Marysville realtor accused of fraud

St. Clair County Courthouse
St. Clair County Courthouse

Multiple felony charges against a Marysville real estate agent accused of fraud were thrown out in St. Clair County District Court on Thursday.

Mike Deising had been charged with one count of uttering and publishing and three others of uttering and publishing affecting real property late last year after a St. Clair County sheriff’s investigation alleged that he’d failed to disclose one loan leveraged in seeking another from Choice One Bank.

However, Judge John Monaghan said there was not probable cause for the four initial felony charges, calling an additional charge of false pretense sought by the prosecution “futile.”

“There certainly are statements that are arguably false or not true in those documents. But this court doesn’t believe that those statements rise to the level of creating a change or forged or altered or some sort of counterfeit document,” he said. “And even if they did, this court’s not convinced that there’s been an adequate showing that the defendant did this with the intent to defraud the bank.”

The sheriff’s department began a joint investigation with Adult Protective Service in April 2022 over a $350,000 loan made to Deising by an elderly resident of Kimball Township in September 2020.

Monaghan emphasized that the charges later waged against Deising didn’t come from that issue but what was discovered upon talking to the defendant and looking into his records: That personal loan was made to purchase a building on Gratiot Boulevard in Marysville, and that Deising used that property and another in Port Austin as collateral in applying for a business loan from Choice One.

Assistant Prosecutor Cailin Wilson refuted the defense’s claims that the allegations were more civil than criminal.

Adding that “because these documents have been falsely made” in the first place, leaving out the $350,000 loan to receive the other, that the “statement was made with intent to fraud — not by accident.”

“One change makes something altered. One signature makes something forged,” Wilson said. “… You don’t look at it as if, ‘Well, I may hire this builder to work on my house anyway without his license.’”

Andre Laubach, an attorney for Deising, said the documents in the allegations were primarily security agreements to provide a loan, and he argued that despite those allegations, the defendant had continued to make monthly payments with interest to Choice One.

“Could this go all the way on and suddenly he’s convicted of a crime that this document is fraudulent and yet still paying on it? That doesn’t make any sense,” Laubach said. “The fact is … there is no victim here. The lender is making money.”

Monaghan said from Deising’s point of view, Choice One had first priority lien to secure any debt would he not repay its business loan, citing not just the $350,000 from the Kimball resident but the $695,000 in collateral on two parcels it helped leverage.

The judge agreed that “regardless of misstatements” in the documentation, “the bank actually got exactly what it wanted.”

After the ruling Thursday, Deising hugged members of his counsel and individuals seated in the audience nearby. When reached later Thursday afternoon, he referred further comments to his attorneys.

Contact Jackie Smith at (810 989-6270 or jssmith@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @Jackie20Smith.

This article originally appeared on Port Huron Times Herald: Judge throws out felony charges against Marysville realtor accused of fraud