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Lapeer County Judge Charged With 5 Counts Of Embezzlement


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(07/18/14) - A Mid-Michigan circuit judge has been arraigned on embezzlement charges.

Byron Konschuh, who has been a judge since April 2013, was officially charged Friday afternoon.

Konschuh faces five counts of embezzlement by a public official over $50. The crime carries a penalty of 10 years, or a fine of $5,000. 

The investigation covers a four year span - from 2009 to 2013 - when Konschuh was the Lapeer County prosecutor.

Current county prosecutor Tim Turkelson says his office became suspicious after Konschuh became judge. They believe Konschuh may have pocketed money intended for the county.

They turned their suspicions over to the Michigan State Police.

The Shiawassee County prosecutor, Deana Finnegan, was appointed special prosecutor. She authorized the charges, Friday.

Finnegan says an agency that persuades people to make good on bounced checks written to the county would send Lapeer County a portion of the recovered money.

"In Lapeer County, they were going to the prosecutors office and Byron Konschuh was taking those checks and depositing them into his own account," she said. 

Finnegan believes just over $1,000 was taken.

"This is over the course of about four or five years. It's not a huge amount, but it's over $50 every year for five years," she said. 

Finnegan say Konschuh is charged with felonies because the public trust has been breached.

"This is a sad day and it's disappointing," she said. 

Finnegan believes Konschuh will continue to serve as a circuit judge.

"He's still presumed innocent. As far as I know, Mr. Konschuh will continue to sit on the bend until there's a conviction," she said. 

Konschuh joined the Lapeer County prosecutor's staff in 1988 and became prosecutor in 2000.

Gov. Rick Snyder appointed him circuit judge in 2013.

We attempted to contact Konschuh's attorney, but our call was not returned.

If the case moves forward, it's expected Lapeer County judges will recuse themselves and a visiting judge will be brought in or the case moved to another county.

Konschuh is free on a $10,000 personal bond. His next court hearing is scheduled for July 25.



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