Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Tuesday that former Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith has pleaded guilty to three felonies in the Macomb County Circuit Court after embezzling hundreds of thousands of public dollars for personal and campaign use.
Smith’s plea included one count of official misconduct in office, one count of tampering with evidence in a civil proceeding and one count of conspiracy to commit forgery. His tenure with the office began in 1993, and he was elected county prosecutor in 2004. Smith, a Democrat, resigned in 2020 after the first criminal charges were filed against him by Nessel, who’s also a Democrat.
After a years-long investigation by Michigan State Police and a three-year prosecution by the Public Integrity Unit of Nessel’s office, Smith is set to be sentenced before Judge Nanci Grant on Sept. 6.
“No one is above the law, regardless of what office they serve,” Nessel said. “The former Prosecutor severely abused his position of power and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the people of Macomb County. Those charged with upholding the law should be held to the highest ethical standards.”
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, a Democrat who filed the original complaint against Smith, did so after noticing inappropriate use of county forfeiture accounts. Upon investigation, it was found that Smith and his co-defendants used accounts without official oversight to pay for parties, buy flowers and makeup for certain secretaries, place a security system in Smith’s home and purchase garden benches for the houses of staffers.
Smith will be required to pay $25,000 in restitution fees to the Macomb County Prosecutor’s office upon his sentencing, as well as forfeiture of a “significant portion” of his pension, according to the Attorney General’s Office. Smith is currently serving a 21-month sentence for obstruction of justice and is facing related federal charges.
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