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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Former Executive Director Sentenced To 37 Months In Federal Prison

Tracy Bronson embezzled $573,159 from the Calhoun Conservation District between 2014 and 2017

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Tracy Lynn Bronson, 57, of Marshall, Michigan, was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for stealing from her former employer, the Calhoun Conservation District, a local special unit of government with a mission to maintain and improve land, water, and wildlife. Bronson also was ordered to pay $573,159.20 in restitution. Following release from prison, Bronson will serve three years on supervised release. U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney imposed the sentence.

          Bronson was indicted by a grand jury in February 2018 and charged with five counts of theft concerning a program receiving federal funds. Bronson pled guilty to committing that offense. Between 2014 and 2017, the Calhoun Conservation District ("CCD") received more than $466,000 in federal funds. During that same period, Bronson embezzled $573,159 from the CCD while employed as its Executive Director. She committed the offense by writing more than 400 unauthorized checks to herself and by using CCD credit cards for personal expenses. Bronson attempted to hide her offense by altering CCD’s books and records, and creating fake monthly account statements, which she provided to CCD’s Board of Directors. Bronson admitted that most of the embezzled funds were spent at a local casino. She faced a maximum of 10 years in prison for the offense, but was sentenced within the range recommended by the federal Sentencing Guidelines.

          In announcing the sentence today, U.S. Attorney Birge remarked, "Bronson stole not only from her loyal employer, but from the Calhoun County community and taxpayers. As a result of her selfish breach of trust, CCD has struggled to pay its bills and fulfill its important mission for future generations. Combatting financial fraud such as this serious embezzlement—particularly when it involves taxpayer money and vulnerable victims—remains a priority of federal law enforcement."

          This case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Inspector General, and the Michigan State Police, with computer forensic examination assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher M. O’Connor prosecuted the case.

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Updated July 31, 2018