Monday, March 30, 2020

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith resigns amid alleged embezzlement scheme

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 2:47 PM

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Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith resigned Monday after after he was charged last week with 10 felony counts for his role in an alleged embezzlement scheme.

But Smith, who held the position since 2004, said he’s going to mount a vigorous defense and has “absolute confidence” that he will be exonerated.

“I intend to whole-heartedly defend myself against those allegations,” Smith says in a news release. “I have been part of the criminal justice system for close to thirty years. Know that I have absolute confidence that our cherished justice system will bring forth the truth and exonerate me.”

Smith faces up to 20 years in prison on allegations that he misused forfeiture funds for five years to pay for office furniture, campaign expenditures, country club parties, a home security system, flowers, makeup for “select” secretaries, and garden benches for his staffers’ houses.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office also charged Derek Miller, the county’s current assistant prosecutor and chief of operations; Benjamin Liston, retired Macomb County assistant prosecutor and former chief of operations; and businessman William Weber, who is accused of providing false invoices totaling nearly $28,000.

Smith’s charges include embezzlement, conducting a criminal enterprise, misconduct in office, tampering with evidence in a civil proceeding, and using a computer to commit a crime.

The charges are the result of a one-year investigation that began when Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office, calling for an investigation into the use of the forfeiture funds, which are supposed to be used to enhance public safety and security, not for personal enrichment.

“It is with a heavy heart that today I am announcing my immediate resignation from the Office of the Macomb County Prosecutor,” Smith said in the news release. “After much reflection, I know that for the betterment of my family, my health, and the citizens of Macomb County it is time for me to step aside so that the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office can continue its great tradition of serving and protecting the county."

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