Treble damage claim for fencing stolen property dismissed
American Auto Recyclers sued the Ferrous Processing & Trading Company, alleging that the defendant had illegally and knowingly accepted stolen automobiles for scrap. Under Michigan law, MCL 600.2919a, a person who knowingly buys or accepts stolen property can be forced to pay treble damages to the theft victim.
The court concluded that even though defendant's seller insisted that payment be made to him personally through five separate checks, none of which could exceed $10,000.00 (the amount that would mandate federal bank reporting requirements and invite surveillance of defendant's financial activities), there was not adequate basis for concluding that defendant "knew" or "should have known" that the purchased vehicles were stolen.
Seems to us like this "peculiar" request certainly raised a question of fact to be decided by the jury.