DETROIT - Felony charges were filed against seven current and former police officers across Southeast Michigan in connection with fraudulent auto inspections.
An investigation by the FBI's Detroit-Area Public Corruption Task Force found improper salvage vehicle inspections were conducted and authorities allege officers falsified Secretary of State documents intended to detect stolen vehicles and parts.
- Tammy Barnes, 59, of Brownstown, faces 18 felony counts of uttering and publishing. She serves as an officer with the Detroit Police Department.
- Elaine Danishevskaya, 39, of Davisburg, was charged with 25 felony counts of uttering and publishing. She is a former Bangor Police Chief.
- Kevin Reif, 43, of Canton, faces 13 felony counts of uttering and publishing. Reif is a detective at the Redford Police Department and served on an auto theft task force.
- Tim Greene, 42, of Romulus, was charged with 6 felony counts of uttering and publishing. He serves as a lieutenant with the Northfield Township Police Department.
- Robert Greene, 64, of Canton, faces 11 counts of uttering and publishing. He is a former officer with the Van Buren Township Police Department.
- John Greene, 43, of Wyandotte, was charged with 7 felony counts of uttering and publishing. He serves as a Detroit Public Schools Public Safety Officer.
- Greg Bumgardner, 44, of Southgate, faces 21 felony counts of uttering and publishing. He is a former Riverview Police officer.
Authorities said these specially certified officers were placed in positions of trust with a responsibility to ensure vehicles they inspected for motor vehicle titles were not stolen.
"These public officials cut corners and fraudulently submitted paperwork taking advantage of the trust and responsibility they are given as police officers," said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. "It is important to hold these individuals accountable as there are many others who complete this job by the rules every single day."
Case background from the Attorney General's office:
"The seven current and former officers involved in this case were charged following an investigation by the FBI Detroit-Area Public Corruption Task Force and the Michigan State Police. The defendants were all specially trained and certified to conduct salvage vehicle inspections. It is alleged that large percentage of the salvage vehicle inspections they had conducted were done so improperly, not checking LEIN to safeguard against retitling vehicles rebuilt with stolen parts or retitling stolen vehicles.
A salvage title is issued for a vehicle that has become a "distressed vehicle”, for example when a car is totaled by an insurance company. A vehicle with a salvage title cannot be plated or used on public roads even after it is rebuilt until it is recertified by a specially trained police officer and retitled. To do this the officer must be authorized by a police department. All defendants in the case were trained and properly certified.
An officer when conducting a salvage vehicle inspections officers must check the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) to ensure stolen parts are not on it or the car itself is not stolen. In this case each of the defendants conducted hundreds, in some instances thousands, of salvage vehicle inspections. The authorities conducted spot checks to ensure the officers had conducted the LEIN checks. It is alleged that these spot check revealed that the officers had falsely stated they had conducted the searches required by law when they had not. The insurance industry also maintains a database of vehicles reported stolen within the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). In each felony allegation the officers did not even check with NICB.
The MSP and the Secretary of State will work together to ensure all vehicles involved in this case have a proper salvage vehicle inspection. This may involve directly contacting the registered owners of vehicles improperly inspected to arrange for a new inspection. The process of identifying affected vehicles is ongoing.
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