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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 17, 2016

Chesterfield Township Supervisor Arrested and Charged with Demanding and Taking Bribes

The elected Supervisor of Chesterfield Township was arrested by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) today based on a criminal complaint charging him with demanding and taking bribes in exchange for his official acts in connection with a municipal contract, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by FBI Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios and Manny J. Muriel, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Detroit Field Office.

Michael Lovelock, 57, of New Baltimore, was charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, including demanding and accepting money in exchange for official acts as the Chesterfield Supervisor.  Lovelock’s arrest is part of an ongoing and long-running investigation into systemic corruption in multiple municipalities in southeast Michigan, primarily Macomb County.  The investigation has employed telephone wiretaps, consensual audio and video recordings by cooperative individuals, undercover operations, physical surveillance, telephone tracking warrants, and subpoenas of financial records and other documents. 

The complaint charges that since approximately 2010 and continuing through 2016, Lovelock accepted multiple bribes from the representative of a company that had a significant contract with Chesterfield Township.  In total, Lovelock accepted over $30,000 in cash from the company’s representative.  In addition, Lovelock accepted two other bribe payments totaling $4,000 in cash from an undercover agent of the FBI and an individual cooperating in the investigation, with the payments being video recorded.  In exchange for all of the cash that Lovelock demanded and accepted during the course of the bribery conspiracy, Lovelock agreed to use his official position as Chesterfield Supervisor to: (1) secure an extension of the contract with the township for the company, (2) put past due accounts of the company on the Chesterfield tax rolls so as to assist the company in getting paid by township residents, (3) obtain payment from Macomb County for the company for its work on flood damage that occurred in August 2014; and (4) provide a favorable reference for the company for other municipalities and so that Lovelock would not speak negatively about the company.

“Public officials who seek to take advantage of their official positions for their own personal gain by selling official acts should expect to be arrested and prosecuted,” said U.S. Attorney McQuade.  “The citizens of our district deserve elected representatives who make decisions based on the best interests of the community rather than their own corrupt financial interests.”

"Today’s arrest further demonstrates the continuing threat we face of elected officials, at any level of the government, prioritizing personal gain over their sworn obligation to represent their constituents’ best interests and uphold the trust afforded to them by the citizens they represent,” said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.   "The FBI led Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force will continue to prioritize the investigation of cases involving any federal, state, or local public officials who solicit and accept bribes in exchange for official acts.”

This investigation is being conducted by the FBI Detroit Area Corruption Task Force, a multiagency task force led by the FBI Detroit Division and comprised of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, Michigan State Police, Michigan Attorney General’s Office, and several other local and federal law enforcement agencies.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys R. Michael Bullotta and David A. Gardey.

Upon conviction for a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666, federal program bribery, Lovelock faces a maximum of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.   

A complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  Trial cannot be held on felony charges in a complaint.  When the investigation is completed a determination will be made whether to seek a felony indictment.

The FBI requests that anyone having information regarding public officials accepting bribes is encouraged to contact the Detroit Division of the FBI at 313-965-2222.

Topic: 
Public Corruption
Updated November 17, 2016