Skip Navigation
Attorney General Bill SchuetteMichigan.gov
Michigan.gov Home
close print view

New Attorney General's Program Aims to Weed Out Corruption: The 'Public Integrity Unit' has already filed 41 charges of public corruption

LIAM MARTIN, WILX

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

LANSING -- A Department of Human Services employee accused in February of food stamp fraud.

Then in March, a Highland Park charter school treasurer charged with purchasing home with school funds, and a River Rouge city council president accused of accepting a $5,000 bribe.

Most recently -- Brian Hengesbach, a DHS worker, facing four felony charges of embezzlement -- all of them charged by Attorney General Bill Schuette's new "Public Integrity Unit."

"We're gonna make sure that everyone knows, that in Michigan, we are looking to stomp out corruption at all levels of government," said AG communications director John Sellek.

The PIU has filed 41 corruption charges against about 10 government employees in a matter of months.

"To know that any dollar that comes to Lansing, that is so hard to come by, could be lost to greed or corruption -- is just a kick in the stomach," Sellek said, noting the office has rerouted some workers from other departments to the PIU.

Hengesbach, due to be arraigned Thursday, stands accused of buying some $4,750 worth of office supplies with DHS funds, then either keeping the items or selling them and pocketing the cash.

And the punishment, if he's convicted, could be severe.

"Because of his position of public trust, high up in the government, we were able to apply another charge that expands that to a maximum of 20 years," Sellek told News 10 Wednesday.

Similar penalties face the others accused by the Public Integrity Unit (none of whom has yet stood trial) -- a harsh reminder of how seriously those crimes are taken, especially when committed by government workers.

"No matter what you have done," Sellek said, "we're gonna try to bring you to justice."

 

Related Content
 •  Pontiac Fire Chief Jeffrey Hawkins charged with bribery, racketeering
 •  Former River Rouge City Council President Anthony Laginess sentenced for bribery
 •  Highland Park School Official Charged With Embezzlement
 •  Ex-school treasurer gets probation for $25K theft
 •  Former Westland Clerk Facing Embezzlement Charges
 •  AG Says Kwame Kilpatrick's Cousin, Nneka Cheeks, Stole from Charitable Fund
 •  Former DHS Worker Charged With Embezzlement
 •  DHS official charged in embezzlement
 •  Shantell Bell Accused of Embezzling from George Washington Carver Academy in Highland Park
 •  Ex-River Rouge official charged with bribery
 •  Former Rouge River council chief charged with bribery in prescription scandal
 •  Attorney General Bill Schuette's public integrity unit files first case against two Michigan State Police lieutenants
 •  2 troopers, civilian charged in police embezzlement case
 •  Attorney General Bill Schuette of Midland ramping up fight against public corruption
 •  Public corruption the focus of Mich. AG's new unit
QR code

Michigan.gov Home
PoliciesMichigan NewsMichigan.gov Survey


Copyright © 2014 State of Michigan