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Former EGLE Employee Pleads Guilty To Embezzlement

(CBS DETROIT) - A former employee of the Environment Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) pleaded guilty to embezzling from the state.

Joseph Pettit, 49, pleaded guilty to 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 in Ingham County 30th Circuit Court on Tuesday, Aug. 30.

"This plea brings us one step closer to securing accountability in this case, and therefore, justice for the people of Michigan," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. "State employees serve the many operations that keep Michigan running for our millions of residents. Abusing that responsibility will not be tolerated by my office."

"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 is expected to serve prison time, and that will be determined at his sentencing on Nov. 17.

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

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