March 22, 2019
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today announced the sentencing of a former 36th District Court officer who displayed his badge and gun to coerce defendants to pay civil judgment collections – and then kept the money for himself. William Blake, 47, of Redford was sentenced today to one year in Wayne County Jail as part of a two-year probation by Third Circuit Court Visiting Judge Dalton Roberson.
Between 2013 and 2015, as an officer of the court, Blake collected payments from the defendants and was supposed to turn them over to plaintiffs. Instead, he deposited them into his personal bank accounts. By not filing the proper paperwork with the courts, Blake was able to pocket the money without the court knowing about his collections or failure to remit the payments.
The Attorney General’s office filed charges against Blake in February 2018 following an investigation by the FBI’s Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force. Blake pleaded guilty to two counts of felony Embezzlement by a Public Official over $50 or more in September, admitting he embezzled more than $20,000 from defendants, including East Lake Baptist Church and A Nu Automotive.
“It’s a huge betrayal of public trust when someone who is tasked with maintaining law and order uses his position to threaten and coerce people to line his own pockets,” Nessel said. “This office will always take action against anyone who abuses their position for personal enrichment.”
The Department of Attorney General teamed up with the FBI’s Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force in this case. Special Agent in Charge Timothy Slater of the task force noted his team remains committed to ensuring public officials uphold the law and the oath they took to serve and protect.
"Mr. Blake failed the community by using his position of authority to line his own pockets instead of faithfully enforcing court orders," said Slater. "The FBI's Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force, alongside the Michigan Attorney General's Public Integrity Unit, remains committed to investigating those who violate their oath of office by committing crimes."