Former Berrien County Sheriff's Deputy charged with embezzlement

NOW: Former Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy charged with embezzlement

NILES, Mich. -- A former lieutenant with the Berrien County Sheriff's Department is charged with three counts of embezzlement.

Trent Babcock was under investigation by the Niles Police Department back in March, accused of using over $11,000 in funds from a youth wrestling club that he set up. 

Babcock had previously been charged with retail fraud in 2017-- for shoplifting $180 worth of groceries from the Walmart in Niles, after which he was fired by the Sheriff's Department. 

According to official documents obtained in Berrien County, Babcock was a coach with the Niles Wrestling Club-- an organization where wrestlers too young to join high school or middle school programs could learn and compete against other teams. Investigators noted in the documents that Babcock was a co-signer for the club's bank accounts.

An investigator from the NPD reported that between 2017 and 2022 -- there were numerous unexplained transactions made from those accounts that "had nothing to do with the wrestling club."

Unexplained transactions listed in court documents include purchases of auto parts, fuel, equipment rentals and cash withdrawals, totaling to $11,514.23. 

One rental agreement for an air compressor was allegedly made out to AJL Total Property Maintenance-- a company owned by Babcock and his wife.

Babcock denied any wrong-doing, and said that the club was a private one, and that, as its founder, the funds were private as well, disputing a claim made on the search warrant that his club was a non-profit organization.

According to the Berrien County Prosecutor's Office, Babcock's charges are still active, and the case will be heading to trial, though a date has not yet been set. 

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