Police dismantle security system during raid at home of Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith

Raid connected to investigation of use of forfeiture funds

State police conducted a raid on the home of Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith.

MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Michigan State Police dismantled a security system at the home of Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith during a raid Tuesday.

Police wouldn't say much about what investigators were looking for during the raid.

"Obviously it's going to be tied to the investigation that is ongoing," Lt. Darren Green said.

Smith is under state investigation after troopers served a search warrant at his office.

"This morning, as you know, members of the Michigan State Police appeared at my home as part of their investigation into the Macomb County Prosecutor's Forfeiture Fund," Smith said in a statement. "My family and I complied with their requests and cooperated fully, as I have promised to do from the beginning of this process. I will continue to cooperate fully and supply the State Police with any information they need to conclude their investigation."

MSP officials raided the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office last month, hoping to learn more about his handling of forfeiture funds.

The money in those forfeiture funds is supposed to be used for specific police and law enforcement activities. Smith's use of the funds is at the center of the investigation, officials said.

Months ago, Macomb County officials forced the bank to give up all the checks used in the accounts, but there are still a lot of questions about where around $900,000 went.

"I recognize this does not look great," Smith said while responding to the raid.

Police left the office with a banker's box full of documents.

Macomb County Commissioner Leon Drolet said he's seen most of the evidence in the case because county officials received the forfeiture account checks months ago.

"Taxpayers pay a lot of taxes," Drolet said. "They have a right to know that their money, the money being taken from them, is not being used for politicians' personal use, and the evidence is that's been going to the county prosecutor."

Drolet said he has had a raft of questionable checks copied, such as one for $1,000 to the Chippewa Valley High School yearbook, allegedly for an advertisement that includes Smith's name.

"When looking through these checks, we see checks being written for his high school yearbook, the prosecutor's alma mater, for the school his kids go to, for all kinds of uses that have nothing to do with law enforcement," Drolet said.

Drolet recommended and the county commission ordered a forensic audit. Local 4 has learned Michigan State Police took over that forensic audit last week.

"I will continue to be cooperative with the investigation and assist in any way that state police can swiftly conduct their investigation and have this matter fully laid to rest and resolve the misinformation that's existed to date," Smith said.

Smith likely had an idea state police would soon be knocking on his door. They sent a letter to county officials saying the department was taking over the forensic audit and alerted everyone involved that they would be questioned as part of the investigation, according to authorities.

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.