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Public Integrity Unit Charges State Employee with Embezzlement from Domestic Violence Prevention Fund

Contact: John Sellek or Joy Yearout 517-373-8060

May 12,  2011

              LANSING - Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that his Public Integrity Unit (PIU) has charged a former Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) employee with one felony count of embezzlement.  A DHS investigation found that Misti Blackburn, 40, of Eaton Rapids, used her state procurement credit card while employed with the Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board to pay for personal expenses. 

        "If you have your hand in the cookie jar, it's only a matter of time before you get caught," said Schuette.  "We are working hard to protect taxpayers at all levels of government." 

 

        Blackburn was issued a state procurement card in June 2010 to purchase items and make reservations in connection with her job with the Board, which is under the control of DHS.  From October 2010 to March 2011, it is alleged that Blackburn used the card for a total of $1,704.57 in personal expenses.  Purchases included personal car payments, gasoline, groceries and clothing.

 

        An arrest warrant for Blackburn on the felony charge of embezzlement was filed today with the 54A District Court in Lansing and Blackburn has turned herself in to authorities.  She will be arraigned at 1:30 P.M. today by Magistrate Laura Millmore.  Blackburn faces a maximum possible penalty of five years in prison.  Blackburn is now employed by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. 

 

      "I would like to thank the DHS Domestic Violence and Treatment Board Director Debi Cain for her diligence in working with the DHS Office of Inspector General to investigate and uncover this crime," said Schuette. 

 

        Schuette's PIU has filed 53 criminal charges so far this year against individuals holding positions of public trust, including state and local government officials.  A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

                                Misti Blackburn

                                           -30-

                                                                      

                                                              

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