MI Court Forfeits Ex-Clerk's Retirement Benefits

January 27, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A Michigan judge has approved a prosecutor's request that a former township clerk convicted of embezzling $62,000 be required to give up any state retirement benefits.

Thirteenth Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers issued the order under the state’s Public Employee Retirement Forfeiture Act at the request of Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Alan Schneider, according to a Travis City Record Eagle news report.

It was in response to the case involving former clerk Janice Gee, 60, who was convicted by a Michigan jury this month on nine counts of embezzlement. Prosecutors said she funneled the money into a deferred compensation account.

Rodgers ruled that because Gee was convicted of a felony while serving as a public employee, she must give up the part of her retirement benefits earned since 2000, the first year of embezzlement for which she was convicted. Schneider said East Bay officials are working with the township’s pension provider on a total amount. Schneider said that in addition to Gee forfeiting part of her retirement funds, the deferred compensation account will be seized.

Prosecutors charged that Gee used her control of the township’s payroll system to funnel the money to the deferred compensation account since 1995 without deducting the money from her paycheck. Gee, who faces up to five years in prison on each count when Rodgers sentences her on February 3, also faces four more felony charges of official misconduct in office. Those allegations relate to her handling of township credit card accounts, prosecutors said.