Testimony continued in 41-B District Court in Clinton Township the week of July 12 in Eric Smith’s state case. Witnesses to testify include security business owner William Weber and former Macomb County Chief Assistant Prosecutor James Langtry.

Testimony continued in 41-B District Court in Clinton Township the week of July 12 in Eric Smith’s state case. Witnesses to testify include security business owner William Weber and former Macomb County Chief Assistant Prosecutor James Langtry.

Photo by Alex Szwarc


Local business owner, former chief assistant prosecutor testify in Macomb County corruption case

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

Advertisement

MACOMB COUNTY — Strong loyalty to the former Macomb County prosecutor, a falsified invoice, and instructions to investigate the background of another county official was among the testimony provided in a Macomb County corruption case.

On July 13, a preliminary examination continued in the state of Michigan case against Eric Smith and Derek Miller.

The day began with testimony from William Weber. The 40-year-old Macomb Township man is the owner of Weber Security Group in Mount Clemens. In June, Weber pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner and agreed to testify against Smith. In March 2020, Weber was charged with four felonies by the state.

It was stated in court that Weber’s company did work for the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, beginning in 2012.

When questioned by Assistant Michigan Attorney General Michael Frezza, Weber indicated that the dollar volume of his business increased 20%-30% once it began working with Smith. Weber said the relationship between he and Smith began as client-contractor and then moved to a friendship. He noted that he was loyal to Smith and perceived Smith as having superior power over himself. Weber added that he felt he had to keep Smith happy for the good of his business and, on a personal level, became very fond of Smith.

After the first project Weber did for the prosecutor’s office, Weber said Smith approached him to install security equipment at Smith’s Macomb Township home. When Smith’s home project was finished, Weber provided an invoice to the prosecutor’s office.

Frezza argued that the evidence is going to show there was a conspiracy that Smith initiated.

An Oct. 1, 2012, invoice was presented for payment to the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office to Weber Security. The invoice was paid with a $7,009 check, allegedly from a Macomb County forfeiture account.

Weber said that Smith requested a similar invoice be made to reflect the installation of equipment at the Prosecutor’s Office, instead of his residence.

The original invoice, Weber said, indicated that work was done at the prosecutor’s office. That meant the invoice was falsified, Frezza said.

Weber also testified that, in a meeting with Smith, the then prosecutor told Weber he instructed Macomb County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Josh Van Laan to start looking into the history and find any “dirt” he could on Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

According to Weber, Smith alluded that Van Laan had to stop doing his day-to-day work and concentrate on finding any information he could on Hackel.

John Dakmak, Smith’s attorney, said the falsified invoice was never used and was given back to the person who drafted it.

A pair of invoices were dated from April 2017 to the prosecutor’s office for about $28,000 with the same invoice number.

Questioned by Dakmak about how each item in the invoice was installed, Weber said he was asked to provide the best, elaborate, state-of-the-art, all-inclusive security system. Smith said it was to protect his family.

Dakmak argued that unannounced visitors showing up to the home of Smith, a public official — like the prosecutor’s office — could be a security threat.

In his testimony, Michigan State Police Det. Sgt. Chris Corriveau spoke about the search warrant that was executed at Smith’s home in May 2019. Equipment installed by Weber Security Group was obtained as part of the home search.

Corriveau investigates public corruption in southeast Michigan.

Two other search warrants were executed, one at the prosecutor’s office and one at Weber Security Group. Corriveau said the invoice in question did not reflect any items that were at Smith’s home.

The accurate invoice, Corriveau said, which indicated the items located at the residence, was found at Weber Security. The false invoice was located at the prosecutor’s office and at the office of an attorney who was doing an internal audit of the prosecutor’s office.

He said the $600,000 allegedly embezzled by Smith is the approximate amount spent with the forfeiture funds.

Also on July 13, James Langtry testified in the case. Langtry is the former Macomb County chief assistant prosecutor.

Miller and Smith are due back in court Aug. 16 for the preliminary exam to continue.

Advertisement