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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 25, 2022

FORMER ROMULUS MAYOR PLEADS GUILTY TO WIRE FRAUD

DETROIT – Former Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff, 58, of Romulus, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud following his theft and misuse of over $15,000 in campaign funds, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced.

Ison was joined in the announcement by James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Burcroff was elected mayor of the City of Romulus in 2014. As part of his election efforts, Burcroff established a committee to elect (CTE) fund entitled, “Committee to Elect LeRoy D. Burcroff.”

Over the next two-and-a-half years, Burcroff devised and executed a scheme to defraud donors to his CTE account by fraudulently using these funds for his personal benefit rather than for his election. For example, in November 2017, Burcroff spent over $6,000 in campaign funds to pay for a family member’s wedding. Burcroff spent the CTE money on a church fee, a banquet room rental, flowers, and a $4,500 bill for alcohol. In 2017 and 2018, Burcroff used CTE funds to pay over $11,600 in dues and expenses to the Belleville Yacht Club (BYC) which he used for his personal benefit. On multiple occasions, Burcroff overpaid his dues using his CTE account thereby causing the BYC to write him a check for $2,000 in December of 2017. Burcroff deposited this money into his personal bank account. In 2018, Burcroff made a $1,000 donation of CTE funds to a trade industry for his personal benefit. In 2019, Burcroff spent $3,000 of campaign funds on a personal vacation to Florida.

The wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. 

United States Attorney Ison said, “The citizens of the Eastern District deserve to be served by public officials of the highest integrity. Those who abuse positions of trust by misusing campaign donations for their own benefit will face stiff consequences. Today’s plea represents our commitment to ensuring the citizens of Michigan have the utmost trust in our campaign finance system.”      

“Burcoff betrayed his supporters and neighbors, the people of Wayne County, by embezzling their donations to fund his lifestyle,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “The FBI prioritizes exposing corrupt public officials whose greed erodes the public’s confidence in government.” 

The case was investigated by the Detroit Area Corruption Task Force, which is led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Detroit Police Department, Michigan Attorney General's Office, Customs & Border Protection, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eaton P. Brown

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Updated August 26, 2022