LANSING, Mich. — A former employee of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lake, and Energy has been charged with embezzling more than $850,000 from the State.
Joseph Pettit, 49, was an environmental quality specialist with the state. He is being charged with three counts of embezzlement of more than $100,000, four counts of forgery and counterfeit crimes, and using a computer to commit the crime.
Embezzlement and using a computer to commit a crime are felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Pettit is also facing up to 14 years for uttering and publishing, which is a counterfeit and forgery crime.
Pettit was responsible for releasing bonds back to companies and the transfer of bonds back to the original owners, the state Department of Attorney General said in a press release. Instead, Petit created fake vendors so he could redirect funds to different bank accounts, the release said.
"This case is a reminder that my office treats it very seriously when anyone abuses the conformity for their own gain,” said Nessel, in a statement released Wednesday. “I am grateful to EGLE for their cooperation and diligence in ensuring those who violate the public trust are held accountable and in working to ensure something like this never happens again.”
Nessel's office said in the release that they believe Pettit embezzled more than $850,000 between 2018 and 2020.
Liesl Clark, director of the Department of Environment, Great Lake, and Energy, said the department will be strengthening internal financial controls that will provide greater checks and balances against fraud.
Pettit is expected to appear in court Friday for arraignment.
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