Macomb Township businessman agrees to testify in ex-prosecutor case

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published July 1, 2021

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MACOMB COUNTY — The case against a former Macomb County official moves forward.

A June 18 press release from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office states that William Weber will testify against Eric Smith after pleading guilty in a years-long embezzlement scheme.

Weber, who turned 40 on June 30, was charged along with ex-Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith; Derek Miller, the then-assistant prosecutor and chief of operations; and retired Macomb County assistant prosecutor and former chief of operations Benjamin Liston, last March.

The four were charged as a result of the investigation by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s Public Integrity Unity, or PIU.

In March 2020, Smith, now 54, was charged with 10 felonies after investigators estimated that around $600,000 had been embezzled since 2012 through inappropriate use of forfeiture accounts.

Weber is the owner of Weber Security Group, in Mount Clemens.

Last September, the 59-year-old Liston pleaded guilty to three counts of willful neglect of duty by a public officer holding public trust. As part of his plea, Liston agreed to testify to Smith’s role in covering up embezzlements from forfeiture accounts and will be sentenced following that testimony.

Weber was initially charged with four felonies, including one count of forgery, which is a 14-year felony, and one count of aiding and abetting Smith’s embezzlement by a public official.

On June 18 in 41-B District Court in Clinton Township, Weber pleaded guilty to an added charge — one count of conspiracy to commit a legal act in an illegal manner, a one-year misdemeanor.

The remaining charges were dismissed.

A press release notes that, during his plea, Weber admitted to falsifying an invoice at Smith’s request for a security system installation at Smith’s Macomb Township residence to make it seem as though it were installed at the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office.

“Smith asked Weber to produce the false invoice in response to a subpoena in a pending Macomb County Circuit Court action,” it states. “The invoice covered up that his home security system had been paid for with county money.”

Nessel said that public servants must uphold the integrity of the offices in which they serve.

“My Public Integrity Unit remains committed to ensuring accountability for those who break the public’s trust,” she said.  

In addition to testifying against Smith, Weber agreed to pay $23,960 in restitution, which he paid June 18.

A June 24 press release from Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido states that Lucido is calling on Nessel to use restitution funds from criminal cases associated with Smith’s criminal case to make the Prosecutor Forfeiture Accounts whole again.

“The victims of these crimes are the Macomb County residents and the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office,” Lucido said.

The release also notes that Lucido’s request to have these restitution funds re-deposited into the accounts will ensure these accounts are made whole, while at the same time providing necessary resources for enhancements to law enforcement to keep the community safe.  

Like Liston, Weber will not be sentenced until after his testimony against Smith.

In January, Smith pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for soliciting lies to law enforcement from co-conspirators to cover up his thefts from his campaign account in the federal case against him. He has yet to be sentenced in that case.

Smith and Miller are scheduled for a preliminary exam July 9 in 41-B District Court.    

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