Eric Smith house raid

Police on the scene at the Macomb Twp. home of Macomb Co. Prosecutor Eric Smith. (Photo: Ron Dewey/WWJ)

Commissioner: Prosecutor Eric Smith Put $900,000 In Accounts Only He Could Access

Alleged mishandling of forfeiture funds at issue

May 15, 2019 - 8:14 am

(WWJ) A day after Michigan State Police raided the home of Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith, county leaders are breaking their silence on what's going on behind the scenes.

County Commissioner Leon Drolet, R-Macomb County, told WWJ's Charlie Langton that forfeiture funds collected by the prosecutor's office are being scrutinized by Michigan State Police.

Forfeiture funds, including drunk driving and drug-related seizures, are collected from people convicted of crimes. Basically, they have to turn over anything that could have been used in the commission of the crime. Goods can include cash, cars and jewelry.

At issue is the way Smith handled those funds, Drolet says. For instance, if $900 is seized in a bust the money should go to the county treasurer's office where the Board of Commissioners would decide how to allocate the money.

"What's happening here is the prosecutor has been assessing the fine of the $900 and not turning the money over to the county treasurer and it's not being appropriated through the normal channel of officials. Instead, he's been putting the money into bank accounts for many years that only he had access to," Drolet says.

The forfeiture funds in questions amount to about $900,000, Drolet said.  

Speaking to reporters last month, Smith acknowledged this "doesn't look great," but said he welcomes the AG's investigation as he has nothing to hide. 

Smith remained at his house during Tuesday's raid, but left soon after without commenting to reporters. 

He later issued the following statement via email: 

"This morning, as you know, members of the Michigan State Police appeared at my home as part of their investigation into the Macomb County Prosecutor's Forfeiture Fund. My family and I complied with their requests and cooperated fully, as I have promised to do from the beginning of this process. I will continue to cooperate fully and supply the State Police with any information they need to conclude their investigation."  

No charges have been filed in the case