DETROIT - A now-former Michigan State Police trooper is charged with stealing more than $170,000. The news follows an eight-month investigation of 31-year-old Seth Swanson, of Royal Oak.
Swanson answered the two charges of embezzlement Wednesday.
The case revolves around Michigan salvage titles, which are given to distressed vehicles. They can't be put back on the road until they're cleared by a certified salvage inspector, which Swanson is.
But the attorney general alleges he was embezzling the fees involved with that whole process.
The FBI investigation revealed Swanson allegedly falsified salvage vehicle inspections between August 2014 and December 2015. There were 1,701 vehicle inspections involved.
Inspectors normally collect a $100 fee and send it on to the Secretary of State, but it's alleged that Swanson pocketed all of the fees, adding up to $170,100. Swanson allegedly forged Secretary of State documentation concerning the inspections that insure a salvage vehicle has a clean title.
Swanson is accused of falsely certifying that he checked the Law Enforcement Information Network to verify the vehicle information numbers on the cars were not reported as stolen.
"Police officers are given great trust and responsibility, and for that reason are held to a higher standard," said Schuette. "When you break the trust you are given and in the process break the law, there are consequences, no matter who you are or what your profession. I want to thank the Michigan State Police and FBI's Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force for their hard work on this investigation."
Swanson was arraigned Wednesday with a not-guilty plea entered on his behalf.
The former trooper has made the news twice before for much different reasons. Last Halloween, he stopped to support a little girl with a rare disease who'd had an MSP cruiser built around her wheelchair. In February 2013, he was one of the first on the scene of a deadly pileup in whiteout conditions on I-75 and breathed life back into a 10-year-old girl.
His attorney hopes people remember his heroics, saying these are only allegations and no admission of guilt has been made. However, Swanson resigned Monday as part of an ongoing negotiation with the Attorney General's Office.
One of the charges is a 10-year felony, the other is a 15-year felony.
Swanson waived his preliminary hearing and was bound over, but his attorney said given the ongoing negotiations, he doesn't expect the case to go to trial.
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