Organized trans-national groups have formed criminal enterprises to commit a variety of financial crimes. The crimes include financial schemes and scams including fencing operations, identity theft, organized retail crime, public aid fraud, cargo theft, money laundering, credit card and bank fraud. These groups victimize legitimate businesses each year for billions of dollars. The organized enterprises often operate in the form of semi-legitimate businesses that commit an ongoing and diverse series of these crimes. Each of these enterprises is connected to numerous other similar criminal enterprises that work together to facilitate these crimes. Many of these criminal enterprises finance and become a conduit for other criminal activity including violence, narcotics trafficking and other gang activity. In turn, they prevent legitimate, sustainable businesses from earning honest profits, creating jobs and growing their businesses. This activity has been documented to create increased violence and is a drain on police resources in the areas they operate, often in low income, at-risk neighborhoods and high crime areas. Further these groups have been tied to a network of criminal activity that expands around the Midwest and internationally. These groups have laundered millions of dollars abroad, some of which have gone to financing terrorist and international crime groups.
In March of 2013, the State of Michigan passed the ‘Organized Retail Crime Act’, with the intent to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the state.
There is created within the department of state police an organized retail crime advisory board. The board
shall consist of the following members:
(a) One member who is a county prosecuting attorney or an assistant county prosecuting attorney.
(b) One member who is a representative of a city, village, or township police department or of a county sheriff department.
(c) The state attorney general or his or her designated representative.
(d) One member who is recommended by the Michigan retailers association. (e) One member who is a member of the general public.
(f) The director of the department of state police or his or her designated representative.
(2) All members of the board, other than the attorney general and the director of the department of state police, shall be appointed by the governor by and with the advice and consent of the senate for terms of 4 years.
(3) A vacancy on the board shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the remainder of any unexpired term.
(4) The duties of the board shall be to develop a database of organized retail crimes, to compile annual statistics on organized retail crime acts, to recommend actions to be taken by the department and law enforcement to further combat organized retail crime, and to submit an annual report to the director of the department on the effectiveness of this act in reducing organized retail crime.
(5) The director of the department of state police or his or her designee shall serve as chairperson of the board. The board shall meet not less often than 4 times each year. Special meetings may be called by the chairperson, or upon written request of not fewer than 3 board members. Meetings shall be held at a location designated by the chairperson.
(6) The board shall keep minutes of its proceedings. A record of board action and business shall be made and maintained.
(7) The board members shall not be compensated for their service but may be reimbursed for their actual and reasonable expenses.
(8) The board shall not retain a staff.
(9) The business performed by the board shall be conducted at a public meeting of the board held in compliance with the open meetings act, 1976 PA 267, MCL 15.261 to 15.275.