EMBEZZLEMENT CHARGES. Above, Bobbi Jo Craft, a former Romeo Lions Club member, and her attorney, Stephen Rabaut, appear at the 42-2 District Court on April 30 for Craft's arraignment. Craft, along with former Lions Club member Todd Walker, are being charged with felony embezzlement of $1,000 to $20,000 by an agent or trustee for reportedly taking money from the non-profit. They are scheduled for a preliminary exam on May 3 at the 42-1 District Court in Romeo.
(Observer photo by Chris Gray)
Craft, Walker charged
with Lions embezzlement
by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
Two former members of the Romeo Lions Club have been charged with embezzling funds from the club's coffers.
Bobbi Jo Craft, a 16-year veteran deputy of the Macomb County Sheriff's Office who served as the Lions Club treasurer, was charged with one count of embezzling $1,000 and up to but no more than $20,000.
She was given a $5,000 personal bond following her arraignment on April 30 at the 42-2 District Court in New Baltimore.
Todd Walker, also a member of the Lions Club, received the same embezzlement charge with a $3,000 bond following arraignment on April 25.
Both are scheduled for a preliminary exam on Thursday, May 3, at the 42-1 District Court in Romeo.
The felony is punishable by five years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines or three times the embezzled amount, whichever is greater.
The Macomb County Prosecutor's Office and the Romeo Police Department allege that Craft falsified the authorizing signature on 26 checks belonging to the Lions Club and took the money for herself over a five-month period in 2011.
"Deputy Craft occupied a position of public trust, both with the sheriff's department and with the Lions charity," County Prosecutor Eric Smith said in a written statement. "She has violated that sacred trust, and will be held accountable."
Of the nearly $20,000 in embezzled funds, Craft used a portion of it to pay personal bills, according to police findings. Funds were also used to pay for an extra room and extra night at a hotel while attending a conference on behalf of the Lions.
Romeo Police Chief Greg Paduch expressed his disappointment in having to investigate a fellow law enforcement agent.
"Craft's arrest serves as a reminder that none of us, and perhaps especially those who wear a badge, are above the law," Paduch said.
Craft has resigned from the sheriff's office, and was terminated from her position in the Lions Club in January when investigations began.
Police reports show Craft reimbursed the Lions Club $2,485 in February.
Walker was in charge of facility maintenance for the club's property before resigning. Of the $5,700 he reportedly embezzled, the majority stemmed from using the club's Home Depot credit card to purchase personal items.
Police reports state he falsified invoices for heating/furnace work as well as for beverage services for the 2011 Peach Festival. http://www.romeoobserver.com/story.asp...