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Former Michigan GOP staffers plead not guilty to embezzlement charges

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(The Center Square) – Two political staffers to former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield pleaded not guilty to felony embezzlement charges more than $100,000.

Anne and Rob Minard were arraigned before the Honorable Lisa L. Babcock in the 54B District Court in East Lansing on multiple felony charges.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged the married couple for their alleged role in misappropriating funds from three non-profits and a political action committee tied to Chatfield.

Both pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Court records accuse the Minards of falsifying records, overcharging political reimbursements and underreporting their 2020 income by less than $600,000.

Each defendant was given a $50,000 personal recognizance bond. They will next appear before Chief Judge Molly Hennessey Greenwalt in the 54B District Court for a probable cause conference Jan. 19 and a preliminary examination has been scheduled for Jan. 25.

They have each been charged with conducting a criminal enterprise, conspiracy to conduct a criminal enterprise, false pretense of between $1,000 but less than $20,000, false pretense between $20,000 and $50,000, embezzlement of $100,000 or more and filing a false tax return.

Anne Minard faces additional embezzlement charges between $1,000 and $20,000 from a nonprofit or charity and false pretenses of between $1,000 or more but less than $20,000.

Rob Minard has been charged individually with one additional count of false pretenses -–$1,000 or more but less than $20,000, a 5-year felony.

The alleged rampant criminal behavior by members and employees of the Lansing Capitol is one reason why voters enacted financial disclosure requirements.

Voters wanted the disclosure of assets, liabilities, income sources, future employment agreements, gifts, travel reimbursements, and positions held in organizations except religious, social, and political organizations.

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