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Plastic pallet alleged conspiracy could net 20 years in prison

There are many in Lansing, Michigan, who may have never given a second thought to a plastic pallet. Plastic pallets have replaced traditional wooden pallets in many industries due to their durability, ability to carry weights up to 2,500 pounds, and resistance to rotting, splintering and contamination. You may wonder how this mundane product could net someone a 20 year prison sentence.

It was recently reported that four people have been charged with conspiracy to steal and then re-sell automotive industry plastic pallets. The four individuals are facing 27 felony counts which could cost them 20 years in prison if convicted of the criminal charges plus hundreds of thousands in fines.

Three men, ages 52, 43 and 40 and one 40-year-old woman, were investigated by the Livonia police department in conjunction with the Michigan Attorney General's office and General Motors. The four people were accused of stealing plastic pallets from industrial yards and then re-selling them through legitimate businesses.

Each pallet is worth about $300 to $500. It was not reported how many pallets were involved in the alleged operation, however each of the four individuals was charged with 27 felony counts, so perhaps that is the number of pallets that were stolen. If that is the case, the theft may be worth no more than $13,500.

It was not reported how the Livonia police became aware of any theft, or whether the four individuals were potentially involved at the same level. It was also not reported whether or not any of the four was cooperating with the prosecution in lieu of reduced charges.

Each of the four individuals is innocent unless guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It is within their best interest to obtain an experienced defense attorney capable of defending their interests and presenting a solid defense. They were scheduled for an arraignment in Farmington Hills' 47th District Court.

Source: The Detroit News, "Organized crime crackdown targets 4 in pallet thefts, Schuette says," Steve Pardo, July 6, 2012

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