Johnson, Schuette announce embezzlement charge against Ex-Department of State employee

LANSING, MI--Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Attorney General Bill Schuette announced charges against a former Michigan Department of State employee after approximately $19,000 in taxpayer funds were stolen from a Clinton Township branch office. The charges result from an investigation by the Michigan State Police following a referral by the Secretary of State's Internal Security Division and were brought by the Attorney General's Public Integrity Unit. ''We will not tolerate misuse of public funds or any attempts to defraud Michigan taxpayers,'' Johnson said. ''This case is a perfect example of how agencies can work together for the public good, and a reflection of all of the state employees who pursued evidence to bring this individual to justice.'' ''Taxpayers' money should be handled with respect and integrity, not used for personal enrichment,'' said Schuette. ''Corruption must be stamped out wherever it is found.'' ''I applaud Secretary Johnson for maintaining strong internal safeguards that protect taxpayers' money and ensure corrupt public servants are brought to justice,'' continued Schuette. Former Department of State employee Conchithia Kelley, 34, of Warren, is charged in the embezzlement of approximately $19,000. Kelley's job responsibilities included counting and verifying cash paid by customers. Kelley was also responsible for transferring the cash from a safe to an armored car service for transport to a bank. Between November 2010 and February 2011, $19,000 was found to be missing. Discrepancies triggered an internal investigation by the Department of State and later referral to the Michigan State Police. Kelley was charged with one count of the Embezzlement by a Public Official Over $50, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. She was arrested by Attorney General investigators this morning and was arraigned in 41b District Court in Macomb County by Magistrate Daniel Goulette. Kelley was released on a $10,000 personal bond and is next due in court for a preliminary exam before Judge Sebastian Lucido at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 29. Kelley's employment with the Department of State was terminated July 22, 2011. A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty. For media questions, please call Gisgie Dávila Gendreau, Michigan Department of State, 517-373-2520; or John Sellek and Joy Yearout, Attorney General's Office, 517-373-8060. Copyright © 2012 State of Michigan Published: Thu, Feb 23, 2012