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AG Nessel Provides Update on Three Criminal Cases, Announces Charges Against Livingston County Undersheriff

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is providing updates on several ongoing criminal cases, including charges against Livingston County Undersheriff Jeffrey Warder. 

Warder was arrested Oct. 26 after a Michigan State Police trooper pulled him over on D-19. The trooper noted he looked intoxicated and could smell alcohol in the car. Warder consented to a breath test on scene, which resulted in a preliminary blood alcohol content of .123. A blood test was later drawn and reflected a blood alcohol content of .133. 

Due to being the undersheriff, a special prosecutor was requested by Livingston County.  

After reviewing the investigation, Warder is charged with the following in Livingston County's 53rd District Court: 

  • one count of operating while intoxicated, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail; and 
  • one count of alcohol - open container in vehicle, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail in addition to community service and substance abuse screening and assessment. 

Arraignment is currently scheduled for Jan. 19 at 8:30 a.m. 

HAZEL PARK POLICE DETECTIVE PLEADS GUILTY TO EMBEZZLING PUBLIC ASSET FORFEITURE FUNDS

A Hazel Park police detective charged with embezzlement pleaded guilty and paid back what he stole. 

In February, a joint law enforcement operation resulted in multiple felony charges filed against Sean Boucher, 46. Authorities allege he embezzled about $68,000 in public asset forfeiture funds for his own personal use over the course of several incidents between 2013 and 2017. 

He was charged with the following in Oakland County's 43rd District Court: 

  • conducting a criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony and/or $100,000;  
  • embezzlement of between $50,000 and $100,0000, a 15-year felony and/or $25,000, or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater; and 
  • five counts of embezzlement by a public official of more than $50, a 10-year felony or $5,000. 

Tuesday afternoon before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Rae Lee Chabot, Boucher pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement by a public official of $50 or more.  

As part of the plea agreement, Boucher paid $68,220 in restitution and relinquished his MCOLES certification. The court will determine the other terms of his sentence. 

"Securing this plea is a testament to the collaboration between our local and federal partners involved in this case," Nessel said. "We remain committed to ensuring those who took an oath to serve the public are held accountable when that position is exploited for personal gain." 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force handled the investigation, which was then presented to the Michigan Department of Attorney General for prosecution. 

"We would like to thank the FBI Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force for investigating these crimes and the Department of Attorney General for securing this guilty plea," Police Chief Brian Buchholz of the Hazel Park Police Department said. "The residents of Hazel Park and members of this department put their trust in the defendant to uphold the law, and that trust was broken. His actions should in no way be a reflection of the members of this department who serve this city with honor and integrity every day." 

"Sean Boucher was trusted with forfeiture funds meant to benefit the City of Hazel Park and its citizens," Timothy Waters, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan, said. "Instead, he violated his oath and stole the money for his personal use. Today's guilty plea is an admission he violated his duty and the trust of the Hazel Park Police Department. The FBI will continue to work alongside the Attorney General's office and our law enforcement partners to hold corrupt police officers accountable for their actions." 

Sentencing is set for Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. 

GUARDIAN CHARGED WITH ELECTION FRAUD SENT TO TRIAL IN WAYNE COUNTY

A 29th District Court judge found enough probable cause to send one of five cases against Nancy Williams to trial. 

The Department announced charges against Williams in October in the following courts: 

  • 28th District Court (City of Southgate) - Wayne County
    • one count of false statement in absentee ballot application, a 90-day misdemeanor; 
    • one count of forging signature on absentee ballot application, a five-year felony; and 
    • one count of election law forgery, a five-year felony.
  • 17th District Court (Redford Township) - Wayne County 
    • two counts of false statement in absentee ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors; 
    • two counts of forging signature on absentee ballot application, five-year felonies; and 
    • two counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies.
  • 18th District Court (City of Westland) - Wayne County 
    • three counts of false statement in absentee ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors; 
    • three counts of forging signature on absentee ballot application, five-year felonies; and 
    • three counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies.

  • 46th District Court (City of Southfield) - Oakland County 
    • six counts of false statement in absentee ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors; 
    • six counts of forging signature on absentee ballot application, five-year felonies; and 
    • six counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies.

  • 29th District Court (City of Wayne) - Wayne County 
    • two counts of false statement in absentee ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors; 
    • two counts of forging signature on absentee ballot application, five-year felonies; and 
    • two counts of election law forgery, five-year felonies. 

Tuesday afternoon Judge Breeda O'Leary sent the City of Wayne counts to circuit court. 

Additional preliminary exams are set for the following days: 

  • Dec. 22 at 1:30 pm. - Westland 
  • Jan. 7 at 10:30 am - Southgate 
  • Jan. 14 at 9:30 am - Redford 
  • Jan. 26 at 10:15 am - Southfield 

Investigators allege Williams developed and implemented a plan to obtain and control absentee ballots for legally incapacitated persons under her care by fraudulently submitting absentee ballot applications to city and township clerks, seeking to have absentee ballots for those individuals mailed directly to her. She also submitted separate voter registration applications for each person - all without knowledge, consent or understanding of the person under her care. 

CLIO MAN TO FACE TRIAL FOR MULTIPLE CSCS, CO-DEFENDANT SENTENCED TO PRISON 

A Clio man is headed to trial for multiple sexual assaults involving an underage victim, beginning when she was 14 years old. 

John Digiacomo, 58, is charged in two counties in connection to assaults that happened in 2014 and 2015. 

In Genesee County, Digiacomo is charged with the following: 

  • three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC), felonies punishable by life in prison; 
  • one count of second-degree CSC, a felony punishable by 15 years in prison; 
  • three counts of third-degree CSC, felonies punishable by 15 years in prison; 
  • one count of fourth-degree CSC, a high court misdemeanor punishable by two years and/or $500 fine; 
  • one count of assault with a dangerous weapon; a felony punishable by four years and/or $2,000 fine; and 
  • one count of felony firearm, a felony punishable by two years consecutively with and preceding any term of imprisonment imposed for the felony or attempted felony conviction. 

During a preliminary exam before Judge William H. Crawford II Tuesday, the Department added two additional counts - one for first-degree CSC and one for third-degree CSC.  

Judge Crawford sent all 12 counts against Digiacomo to trial Tuesday afternoon. 

In Tuscola County, Digiacomo is charged with the following: 

  • two counts of first-degree CSC, felonies punishable by life in prison; 
  • one count of second-degree CSC, a felony punishable by 15 years in prison; 
  • two counts of third-degree CSC, felonies punishable by 15 years in prison; and 
  • one count of fourth-degree CSC, a high court misdemeanor punishable by two years and/or $500 fine. 

Earlier this month, Judge Jason E. Bitzer sent the case to trial in Tuscola County Circuit Court as charged, with three counts of felony firearm added. 

Next dates for Digiacomo have not yet been set. 

Digiacomo's co-defendant, Patrick Maule, 39, of Alger, pleaded guilty to the following in Genesee County

  • two counts of third-degree CSC, felonies punishable by 15 years in prison; and 
  • one count of fourth-degree CSC, a high court misdemeanor punishable by two years and/or $500 fine. 

In Tuscola County, Maule pleaded guilty to: 

  • three counts of third-degree CSC, felonies punishable by 15 years in prison; 
  • one count of assault with a dangerous weapon; a felony punishable by four years and/or $2,000 fine; and 
  • one count of felony firearm, a felony punishable by two years consecutively with and preceding any term of imprisonment imposed for the felony or attempted felony conviction. 

Maule was sentenced in Tuscola County on Dec. 9 to the following: 

  • seven to 15 years in prison for each third-degree CSC charge; 
  • one to four years in prison for the assault with a dangerous weapon charge; and 
  • two years in prison, consecutive to the other sentences, for the felony firearm charge. 

Maule was also sentenced to lifetime sex offender registration. His Genesee County sentencing is set for Jan. 7. 

"Survivors of sexual assault deserve to see their abusers brought to justice, even if the assault happened years ago," Nessel said. "My office remains committed to securing accountability against perpetrators." 

Both men victimized a teen for nearly a year beginning shortly after her 14th birthday. When she attempted to cut ties with the men, Digiacomo threatened to kill her and her family. 

In Michigan, anyone under the age of 16 cannot legally consent to sexual activity. 

This project was supported in part by Grant No. WE AX 0030 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. 

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Please note:  A criminal charge is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  The Department does not provide booking photos