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Former Macomb County Prosecutor Sent to Trial for Conducting Criminal Enterprise, Other Felonies
February 04, 2022
LANSING - The former Macomb County Prosecutor charged with a litany of felonies including embezzlement, misconduct in office and conducting a criminal enterprise has been sent to circuit court, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced today.
Eric Smith will stand trial on the following charges:
- one count of conducting a criminal or racketeering enterprise - a 20-year felony;
- five counts of embezzlement by a public official - 10-year felonies;
- one count of official misconduct in office - a five-year felony;
- one count of count tampering with evidence in a civil proceeding - a four-year felony;
- one count of accessory after the fact to Liston's embezzlement by a public official - a five-year felony; and
- one count of conspiracy to commit forgery - a 14-year felony and a $10,000 additional fine.
Derek Miller, the county's then-current assistant prosecutor and chief of operations who was charged alongside Smith in 2020, was also ordered to stand trial on:
- one count of official misconduct in office - five-year felony; and
- one count of conspiracy to do illegal act in an illegal manner - a five-year felony.
"When public officials fail to conduct themselves in accordance with the laws of our state, we must take swift action to restore the public's confidence," Nessel said. "No one is above the law. The judge's decision today, sending this to trial on all charges, affirms that."
This case followed a year-long public integrity investigation involving the Attorney General's Public Integrity Unit, the Michigan State Police and other agencies, and was prompted by a complaint filed by Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. In the complaint, Hackel called for an investigation into inappropriate use of forfeiture accounts.
Investigators found that Smith and other defendants used the money to buy flowers and make-up for select secretaries, a security system for Smith's residence, garden benches for staffers' homes, country club catering for parties, campaign expenditures and more. It's estimated the total amount of money embezzled was around $600,000 since 2012.
Under statute, forfeiture accounts are to be controlled by the county treasurer. However, investigators found Smith had four accounts containing public monies he controlled without official county oversight. Those accounts are: Drug Forfeiture, Bad Check Restitution, OWI (Operating While under the Influence) Forfeiture, and Warren Drug Court.
Circuit court arraignment for Smith and Miller is set for Feb. 28 at 1:30 p.m.
Please note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The Attorney General's office does not provide photos of defendants.