Detroit — Federal prosecutors Friday charged the former mayor of Romulus with wire fraud for spending more than $15,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses.
LeRoy Burcroff is the latest current or former public official charged during a more than decade-long federal assault on corruption within municipal government and organized labor around Metro Detroit. That crackdown has led to charges against more than 110 people and the convictions of the two past presidents of the United Auto Workers, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and 23 contractors and public officials in Macomb County.
As part of the alleged scheme, Burcroff, now 58, wired a $2,400-plus payment to the Belleville Yacht Club in November 2017 from the “Committee to Elect LeRoy D. Burcroff” checking account, prosecutors alleged.
Councilwoman Kathleen Abdo was saddened to learn about the criminal charge Friday.
“Leroy is a good man and did a good job while he was in office,” she said.
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The alleged scheme involved Burcroff defrauding campaign donors who thought the money would be spent re-electing the Downriver politician, according to prosecutors.
“In truth and in fact, however, Burcroff used over $15,000 of the money contributed to his campaign account for his own personal benefit instead of to benefit the campaign,” the court filing reads.
He was charged 10 months after federal investigators sent a grand jury subpoena to the Wayne County Clerk’s Office about the mayor’s campaign finance statements. The subpoena followed questions about the spending of campaign money in 2013 on the wedding of Burcroff’s daughter.
He was charged in a criminal information, which indicates he is expected to plead guilty to a crime that is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. There was no immediate comment from Burcroff’s lawyer Friday.
Burcroff is the second Downriver politician charged in federal court in recent years and accused of spending campaign cash on personal expenses.
Former Taylor Mayor Rick Sollars is awaiting trial in a federal corruption case that involves allegations he cashed more than $30,000 worth of campaign checks at a party store while corrupting a city foreclosed-property program.
In July, the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office said it had been investigating allegations around Burcroff’s campaign spending for months.
Burcroff’s attorney told The News in July that the mayor had returned in September 2020 at least $4,500 in campaign funds used to cover the wedding costs.
Through his attorney, Burcroff said in July he and his wife spent about $20,000 of their own money to pay for their daughter’s ceremony, days after winning reelection.
The mayor said they invited donors, volunteers, supporters “and many constituents to the wedding,” according to his lawyer, and campaign money covered the nearly $4,500 tab.
Burcroff was first elected in 2013 but did not run for reelection in November amid questions about the FBI investigation. He was succeeded by Robert McCraight.