Tip Line: 574-344-5557 | news57@abc57.com

Schuette announces 20-year max sentence, $48 million recovery from cemetery embezzler Clayton Smart

LANSING – Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Monday that convicted cemetery embezzler Clayton R. Smart, 71, of Okmulgee, Okla., has been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and must pay $48 million in restitution. The sentence comes after Smart pleaded guilty as charged to 39 felony counts filed by the Michigan Attorney General’s office in 2007 after investigation revealed Smart embezzled up to $70 million in cemetery trust funds affecting 28 Michigan cemeteries.

According to the terms of a multi-jurisdictional plea agreement, Judge Kevin Robbins of Detroit’s 36th District Court sentenced Smart to the following, which will be served concurrently:
• Four to 20 years for one count of racketeering;
• Four to 10 years for 10 counts of embezzlement by an agent or trustee over $20,000; and,
• Two to five years for 28 counts of failing to trust or escrow funeral or cemetery or pre-paid contract funds.

Judge Robbins also ordered Smart to pay the affected cemetery trusts $48,670,000 in restitution. The order, which has the force of a civil judgment, may be enforced by Midwest Memorial Group, the buyer of 26 of the 28 cemeteries, and the Michigan Cemetery Commissioner. Approximately $20 million in restitution has already been recovered from Smart by the court-appointed conservator for the affected cemeteries, the Attorney General’s Office, and Midwest Memorial Group.

The multi-jurisdictional plea agreement resolving Smart’s case, which addresses charges filed by Michigan and the federal government, was entered formally in Michigan court on September 1, 2011. Under the terms of the agreement, Smart will be given credit for time served since March 23, 2011, the date he went into federal custody. Smart will serve his Michigan sentence concurrent with an additional five-year sentence for a federal conviction for tax evasion. If Smart completes his federal sentence prior to the four year minimum in his Michigan sentence, he will return to Michigan to complete the unexpired term in the Michigan corrections system.

“Criminals who exploit the public trust for their own personal gain will be brought to justice, no matter how long it takes” said Schuette.

 

(Source: This was a press release from Michigan.gov)

Share this article: