Police discover $855K embezzlement scheme in state agency

LANSING (AP) - A former state employee was charged with embezzlement after investigators discovered that he stole more than $855,000 paid by well owners who needed permits, the Michigan attorney general's office said Wednesday.

The figure likely reached $1.5 million, but the statute of limitations has run out on some of Joseph Pettit's alleged acts, the state said.

Pettit, 49, worked at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, known as EGLE. Companies that drill or operate gas and oil wells must pay a performance bond to the state, but the bond typically is returned when a well changes hands.

Pettit is accused of diverting money to accounts created in the names of phony vendors. EGLE contacted state police in September.

Pettit faces eight felonies, including three counts of embezzlement of more than $100,000 and using a computer to commit a crime.


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