(STL.News) – Today an Information was filed in federal court charging former elected Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith with obstruction of justice for attempting to get a friend and two of his assistant prosecutors to make false statements to federal law enforcement officers and a federal grand jury in a federal criminal investigation of Smith’s own criminal conduct, United States Attorney Matthew Schneider announced.
Former Prosecutor Eric Smith, 53, of Macomb Township, was charged with obstruction of justice, a felony that carries a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison. The charge was based on an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that revealed that between 2012 and 2020, Smith conducted two fraud schemes to steal approximately $75,000 in cash from his political campaign fund to use for personal expenses. Then, when he became aware of a federal grand jury investigation in 2019, Smith began a campaign of a different sort, imploring witnesses to lie and commit perjury on his behalf to federal authorities and a federal grand jury.
Schneider was joined in the announcement by Steven D’Antuono, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Schneider stated, “Our office has worked tirelessly over the years, in partnership with our federal investigative agencies, to put an end to corruption in Eastern Michigan. And we have brought to justice many corrupt public officials, including corrupt police officers, pension board members, council members, trustees and even mayors of major cities. But this case is even more troubling. It involves the head law enforcement official for the third largest county in our state with a population closing in on one million. That Prosecutor Smith was responsible for enforcing our state laws and bringing criminals to justice, only to devolve into a criminal himself by interfering with our system of justice, raises his corrupt acts to an entirely new level. But today, thankfully, Prosecutor Smith is himself a defendant who will now meet the justice he so richly deserves.”
“The supporters of Eric Smith’s campaign had an expectation that he would use their money to fund his election and to provide excellent and honest service to the citizens of Macomb County. Instead he broke that trust and used their money to pay for his own personal expenses,” said Steven M. D’Antuono, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “And when he found out he was being investigated for that crime, he used his personal and political influence to try to obstruct the investigation. The FBI is unwavering in its pursuit of corruption at all levels of the government. Because of his self-interest and greed, Smith has thrown away a long career and has become one of those criminals he promised to protect the citizens of Macomb from.”
This case was investigated by FBI Special Agent Brent Nida of the FBI’s Macomb County Resident Agency and Special Agent Robert Beeckman of the Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys R. Michael Bullotta and Robert Moran and David Gardey.