Current Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith has been charged with 10 separate criminal corruption offenses relating to the alleged misuse of money forfeited to Macomb County. This money comes from the forfeiture of funds and property of criminal defendants, most typically people accused of drug trafficking. He is charged with conducting a criminal enterprise, five separate counts of embezzlement by a public official, tampering with evidence, conspiracy to commit forgery, accessory to a crime after the fact, and public office misconduct. There are three other defendants in this case for their alleged acts that contributed to these crimes.
Original Case Details
The main thing at issue here is what Smith did with forfeiture funds that are seized by the police. Forfeiture funds are supposed to be spent on county police departments and the county’s sheriff department. Michigan State Police raided Smith’s office and home in an effort to uncover his alleged misuse of these funds. Investigators estimate that Smith embezzled approximately $600,000 since 2012 relating to the forfeiture funds. This money was allegedly spent on things such as television service to AT&T and DIRECTV to the tune of almost $30,000, retirement and Christmas parties, and nearly $100,000 in credit card charges that were reimbursed for various activities and expenses. Smith’s secretary appears on over 100 checks, where allegedly she would use her own credit card for purchases and Smith would reimburse her with checks that are paid out from forfeiture money. These forfeiture funds are controversial in nature, because they don’t require a conviction for the police to keep the money and property seized. Opponents of forfeiture funds see these accounts as slush funds for police to use how they please. Forfeiture funds are only supposed to be used in a way that enhances public safety and security, not for personal enrichment.