ROMULUS, Mich. – Three Wayne County employees are facing charges after they worked at a completely different business while clocked into their shifts with the county, officials said.
The county received an anonymous letter in the spring of 2022 that claimed three members of the Wayne County Bridge Department were using county materials and equipment while refurbishing a private business during work hours.
Prosecutor Kym Worthy requested an investigation in April 2022, which revealed that on Dec. 5, 2021, three employees assigned to the Bridge Department had worked at Romulus Nutrition on Ecorse Road during their shifts.
Scott VanPeeren, 54, of Wyandotte, John Everhart, 50, of Farmington Hills, and Justin Whorton, 40, of Detroit, are accused of falsifying their time sheets for that day. All three were paid for their shifts, according to authorities.
VanPeeren, Everhart, and Whorton are also accused of using Wayne County equipment and materials while working at Romulus Nutrition.
The trio is charged with larceny between $1,000-$20,000 and conspiracy to commit larceny between $1,000-$20,000. Both charges are felonies with maximum penalties of five years in prison.
“We continue our commitment to hold employees accountable who misuse Wayne County taxpayer dollars,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said. “The employees charged today showed a blatant lack of integrity and respect for the residents that we serve.”
All three men were suspended Tuesday (March 28, 2023) from their Wayne County positions, with pay. The investigation is ongoing.
“We have been charging and holding defendants accountable for their unscrupulous criminal behavior for almost two decades,” Worthy said. “It amazes me that despite this, corruption continues because corrupters think they will never be held to account. In this case, these three defendants allegedly knowingly accepted money from the county in the form of wages that they did not deserve. There is nothing right about this.”
VanPeeren and Whorton were arraigned Tuesday in 34th District Court in Romulus. A not guilty plea was entered on their behalf. They are being held on a $1,000 personal bond.
A probable cause conference for both men is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. April 5.
A date for Everhart’s arraignment has not yet been set.
You can watch the full arraignment for VanPeeren and Whorton below.