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Macomb County prosecutor resigns in wake of criminal charges

Michigan State Police

Macomb County’s prosecutor resigned Monday after being criminally charged earlier this month.

Eric Smith is facing up to 20 years in prison for his alleged role in a scheme to embezzle $600,000 from drug and alcohol forfeiture funds.

The alleged scheme dates back to 2012. The investigation began last year and included state police raids on Smith’s office and home.

Smith was charged earlier this month on 10 counts, including conspiracy and tampering with evidence.

In a written statement, Smith says he’s resigning for “betterment” of his family, the citizens of Macomb County and his own health

Smith was arraigned on Friday and released on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond, ordered to surrender his passport to the District 41B probation office within 48 hours and told not to leave the state.

He was also directed to have no contact with co-defendants or witnesses involved in the case and to only interact with witnesses to the extent that it relates to the business of the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office. 

He is scheduled for a probable cause conference at 8:30 a.m. on April 3 and a preliminary exam at 8:30 a.m. on April 9 in 41B District Court. The hearings may be done remotely. 

The investigation began after Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel filed a complaint. In the complaint, Hackel called for an investigation into inappropriate use of forfeiture accounts, which is public money to be used for purposes of improving prosecution efforts and supporting victims, among other things. 

Investigators found that defendants allegedly used the money to buy flowers and makeup for select secretaries, a security system for Smith’s residence, garden benches for staffers’ homes, country club catering for parties and campaign expenditures. 

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.