MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. – Former Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith‘s long-held political sway quickly diminished in 2019 when Michigan State Police troopers raided his office and home for records.
Nearly two years later, Smith admitted in a virtual hearing Wednesday to stealing over $74,000 from his campaign fund through two different fraud schemes, officials said.
Federal investigators claim Smith brought employees into a back stairwell inside the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office and worked to steer the investigation away from him.
Smith was accused of two separate fraud schemes, where Smith convinced a friend and two prosecutors to lie to investigators and a grand jury in an attempt to hide the $74,000 that Smith had used for personal use.
“I attempted to have friends give inaccurate information to the government on actions I shouldn’t have done. I knew it was wrong and I did it anyway,” Smith said during Wednesday’s hearing. “I fully accept responsibility. I acted alone, for myself and deeply regret my actions and the shame I brought to my wife, children and the office I worked in for 30 years. I accept my punishment”
“Some may view Smith’s conviction as a reason to lack confidence in our elected officials or our prosecutors. But the opposite is true,” United States Attorney Matthew Schneider said. “This case shows that our system works. When there is a rare case where a law enforcement officer commits crimes, he or she will be held accountable. Smith’s case is that kind of case. No one is above the law in Michigan, and that includes those who enforce the law.”
Obstruction of justice is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Smith is expected to be sentenced at noon April 27.