In September of 2011, Romulus former police chief Michael St. Andre, five detectives and St. Andre’s wife were hit with numerous charges in a corruption case that involved prostitution, embezzlement, misconduct in office, and a slew of other charges. Just over one year later, the 7 accused face trial in Detroit’s 3rd Circuit Court.
St. Andre, his wife Sandra, Larry Droege, Donald Hopkins, Sgt. Richard Balzer, Richard Landry, and Jeremy Channells face a total of 40 felony charges, the most serious of which could potentially land some of the accused in prison for 20 years if convicted. Charges related to operating a criminal enterprise are the most serious; St. Andre faces three possible 20-year felonies after racking up a total of 10 charges.
The department was supposedly conducting a “covert” vice investigation into Subi’s Place in Southgate, and the Landing Strip Bar in Romulus, both erotic clubs according to news reports. Prosecutors claim that over the course of the alleged investigation, police officers fabricated and inflated expenses, purchased prostitutes and skimmed property that was seized.
A release issued on Wednesday, September 26th by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office states that numerous unexplained cash deposits were made into the St. Andres’ personal bank accounts between January 2006 and September 2011, deposits which were far beyond their incomes. They are also accused of using city assets specified for police for their own personal gain. Michigan state police, the FBI and prosecutor staff members conducted the investigation into the police department after being alerted by a “high-ranking” Romulus whistleblower.
Michael St. Andre faces charges of conducting criminal enterprise, criminal enterprise-conspiracy, uttering and publishing, failure to file/false return on taxes, obstruction of justice, receiving and concealing stolen property over $20,000, embezzlement by public official over $50 and misconduct in office among other charges. His wife faces a total of 4 charges.
Corruption and criminal enterprise is serious business; those accused face extremely serious consequences if convicted. A Michigan criminal defense attorney will work aggressively to defend the rights of those accused of embezzlement, receiving/concealing stolen property, criminal enterprise and any/all criminal offenses that may take away your freedom and future if convicted. Without a competent, skilled lawyer on your side, your future is literally hanging in the balance.