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JACK CRONKHITE

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Marcom County Prosecutor Eric Smith and three government and business partners have been charged with felony charges for their roles in embezzlement schemes.

Smith faces a 20-year jail term, and he has been accused of abusing confiscation funds to pay for office furniture, campaign expenses, country club gatherings, home security systems, flowers, "selected" secretary cosmetics over five years, according to Data from the Michigan Attorney General's Office, his staff houses, and garden benches.

Also charged are Derek Miller, the county's current assistant prosecutor and head of operations; Benjamin Liston, retired assistant prosecutor for Macomb County, and former director of operations. And businessman William Weber, who was accused of providing false invoices totaling nearly $ 28,000.

The extent to which employees are involved in the alleged plan is unclear.

Michigan's Attorney General's Office has charged Smith with 10 felonies, including misappropriation of public funds, criminal activity, misconduct in the office, falsification of evidence in civil proceedings, and use of computers to commit crimes.

"In order for citizens to maintain trust in government agencies, public officials must act in accordance with the laws of our country at all times," Dana Nessel, the attorney general, said in a press release. In doing so, the people must be confident that they will be treated fairly and impartially without any special treatment based on their status as public officials. The Attorney General's Office will continue to work to protect this basic principle that no one can surpass the law. "

On Monday, Smith defended his use of funds.

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"I have been cooperating fully with the state police the investigation began," Smith said in a press release. "I will continue to do so. In addition, I support my previous statement that these confiscation funds were properly used in accordance with the law. "

The allegations are the result of a year-long investigation by state police that began with Macomb County Executive Hack Hackel complaining to the Michigan Attorney General's Office about the use of Smith's funds that could have been used to enhance public safety, Not for personal gain.

The Macomb County Board approved a forensic audit of February spending.

Michigan police Smith's office in April and raided his residence in May.

"As the Attorney General, I have no more responsibility than protecting public trust," said Nasser. "The reason is simple: without public trust, the government will fail. Without public trust, justice cannot resist Lure Abuse of power. "

If Smith quits his role as prosecutor-who has held that position 2004-either by Governor Gretchen Whitmer or through the McClenn County Board and its chairman, Bob Smith [ [Eric Smith's brother] took action to remove him.

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