Additional Macomb County Official Charged Over Misuse Of Funds

Original Case Details

In the fallout from the Eric Smith scandal, another member of the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office is facing criminal charges. This time it is Derek Miller, who is the suspended chief of operations for the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office. Miller’s ex-boss was former Macomb County Head Prosecutor Eric Smith. Smith is accused of using money from a civil forfeiture fund for personal benefit to the tune of approximately $600,000 over the course of six years from 2012-2018. Smith is currently charged with a litany of embezzlement and public corruption charges. More information about his case can be found here. Derek Miller has served as a state representative and Macomb County Treasurer along with his time in the Prosecutors office. He is fourth person to be criminally charged in connection with the misuse of forfeiture funds.

Criminal Charges Involved

Derek Miller has been charged with one count of misconduct in office and one count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner. These are both felony charges that carry a maximum of five years in prison. Miller was arraigned on May 12, 2020 by Judge Cynthia Arvant in the 41B District Court in Clinton Township. Judge Arvant is normally a Southfield District Court judge but has been specially assigned to oversee this case in District Court in Clinton Township due to the inherent conflicts of interest in trying to prosecute the head prosecutor and other related members of the Prosecutors Office. Miller was released on a $100,000 personal bond set by the judge at his arraignment. Miller must also surrender his passport and be fingerprinted. His specific role in this case as a whole has not been released as of yet.

Two other men have been charged for their roles in connection with this case along with Smith and Miller. Retired Macomb County Prosecutor Chief of Staff Ben Liston, and William Weber, a businessman out of Macomb Township also stand charged with felonies. Liston faces two counts of embezzlement by a public official along with a count of conducting a criminal enterprise and a count of misconduct in office. Weber faces charges of forgery, larceny by conversion $20,000 or more, aiding and abetting embezzlement by a public official, and receiving and concealing stolen property. These are all felony charges that carry varying amounts of state prison time.

What’s Next?

The next step will include a probable cause hearing to determine if there is enough probable cause to bind the case over to the Macomb County Circuit Court for future proceedings including a possible trial. In a case with four separate co-defendants like this, things can get interesting quickly. If the Prosecutors Office has identified a specific target to put the effort towards securing a conviction, then it is likely that other co-defendants may be offered deals to testify against the top target. It seems pretty obvious that the main target in this is Eric Smith as evidenced by both his position and the number of charges levied against him. Smith has been charged with ten felony counts and faces approximately 22 years in prison. If a trial was to happen in this case, it is unclear if the trail would be held jointly or if the trials would be split up and held separately.

Any Further Questions?

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or are being investigated for one, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.

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