Eric Smith pleads guilty to obstruction of justice

Former Macomb County prosecutor faces federal sentencing in April

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published January 27, 2021

 Eric Smith

Eric Smith

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“I deeply regret my actions and the shame I’ve brought to my wife, children, the office I spent nearly 30 years working for, and the people of Macomb County." 

Eric Smith, Ex-Macomb County Prosecutor

MACOMB COUNTY — Eric Smith now has a felony conviction on his record.

A plea hearing was held Jan. 27 before U.S. District Judge Linda Parker. The proceeding was conducted via Zoom, with Smith and his attorneys seated in a conference room.

A plea agreement was made, with the ex-Macomb County Prosecutor pleading guilty to one felony count of obstruction of justice. The plea was accepted by Parker.

Smith, 54, of Macomb Township, worked in the Prosecutor’s Office starting in 1993 and was prosecutor for 15 years. In March of 2020, he resigned from his post, days after being charged with 10 felonies by the state of Michigan.

This case was presented in federal court in September.

The charge stems from Smith encouraging at least two assistant prosecuting attorneys to lie to the FBI. Federal officials say the purpose of the lies was so Smith could obstruct a federal grand jury investigation into a wire fraud scam he was perpetrating.

Smith admitted at the hearing that he attempted to have his friends give inaccurate information to the government regarding his actions.

Prior to pleading guilty, Smith said he fully accepts responsibility for his actions, adding that he acted for his own benefit.

Federal authorities allege that Smith stole money from his campaign account and used it for his personal “whims.” Smith conducted fraud schemes to steal approximately $75,000 in cash from his political campaign fund to use for personal expenses.

“I deeply regret my actions and the shame I’ve brought to my wife, children, the office I spent nearly 30 years working for and the people of Macomb County,” Smith said.

The maximum penalty for the charge is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Federal attorneys are asking that Smith spend between 15 and 21 months in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Moran said Smith has agreed to a $69,950 forfeiture amount.

Moran also said that, from January 2012 to April 2019, Smith and another person agreed to steal money from Smith’s campaign account. A number of checks written by Smith totaled over $54,000. The money would then be refunded to Smith, in the form of cash.

Smith’s attorney Martin Crandall said he and co-counsel John Dakmak have worked closely with Moran in completing the plea agreement.

Smith’s sentencing is set for April 27.

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