Former state employee sentenced for embezzling more than $100K

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) —  A former employee of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) will be serving jail time and probation after being sentenced for embezzling from the State.

“State employees serve the many operations that keep Michigan running for our millions of residents,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “Abusing that responsibility will not be tolerated by my office. I appreciate the hard work that went into securing the plea and, ultimately, accountability for Mr. Pettit’s egregious acts.” 

Joseph Pettit worked as an environmental quality specialist, where he was in charge of giving bonds back to entities that wanted to drill or have any kind of well.

Instead of returning bonds, Pettit would create fake vendors and put the funds into bank accounts that he supplied for the vendors.

In September, Pettit pleaded guilty to the following charges:

  • two counts of embezzlement over $100,000, a felony punishable by up to 20 years and a fine of up to $50,000 or three times the value of the money or property, whichever is greater; and  
  • one count of uttering and publishing, a felony punishable by up to 14 years in prison. 

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Pettit to one year in the Ingham County Jail, and a subsequent three years of probation.

“There are no winners here, least of all Michigan EGLE’s 1200-plus public servants who exemplify the highest standards of ethics and are disheartened to learn a coworker violated those principles,” EGLE Director Liesl Clark said. “We are doing all we can to prevent any reoccurrence of this type of incident, including strengthened internal financial controls that provide greater checks and balances against fraud.” 

Pettit will also be responsible for full restitution, which totals $855,690.  

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