From Attorney General Bill Schuette’s Office:
LANSING – Attorney General Bill Schuette announced on Friday that his Public Integrity Unit (PIU) has secured the conviction of a former Michigan State Police Lieutenant charged with coordinating an extensive scheme to systematically embezzle property and money seized from suspects.
Emmanuel Riopelle, former Michigan State Police Lieutenant, 44, of Grosse Ile, pleaded no contest to one count of Misconduct in Office, a five year felony, before Monroe County’s 38th Circuit Court Chief Judge Michael W. LaBeau on Friday. Riopelle’s felony conviction will result in the permanent revocation of his MCOLES certification, ending his career in law enforcement.
Because Riopelle’s misconduct occurred while he served in a position of public trust, state law requires him to forfeit his pension.
“Law enforcement officials who abuse their position for personal gain undermine public safety for everyone,” said Schuette. “We will hold corrupt officials accountable, wherever they are found.”
“The Michigan State Police does not tolerate criminal behavior within its ranks,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “However, I am encouraged that two of the three charged in this case have entered pleas and am confident Mr. Davis will be held responsible for his criminal acts.”
Riopelle was charged in February 2011 for coordinating an extensive scheme to systematically embezzle property and money seized from suspects from March 2006 to December 2008. Former Michigan State Police Lt. Luke Davis, 50, of Monroe and Monroe County resident Lawrence Dusseau, 44, were also charged in February 2011 for their roles in the scheme. On March 26, 2013, Lawrence Dusseau pleaded guilty to two counts of Title Jumping to avoid the State Use Tax, a five-year felony. Dusseau’s sentencing is set for May 30, 2013. Davis is scheduled for trial on May 13, 2013.
The alleged embezzlement was uncovered by the MSP following a Nov. 28, 2008 complaint from a suspect alleging Davis stole property from his home. An MSP search of Davis’ home on Dec. 4, 2008 revealed the stolen property, as well as vicodin, oxycotin, steroids, a wall covered with a large quantity of men’s and women’s jewelry, 30 designer purses, 22 cell phones, computers, televisions, motorcycles, and a golf cart, among other property.
Subsequent investigation revealed Davis allegedly developed a system of embezzling seized property from the OMNI unit he commanded. According to MSP policy, seized property is to be sold at public auction, put to official use, or destroyed. However, in March 2006, Davis with the help of Riopelle and Dusseau, began diverting some property for his own use or giving it away rather than selling it at auction. It is also alleged Davis used Dusseau as a “straw buyer” at the auctions, falsifying receipts to show Dusseau purchased the property at auction, but Dusseau would later sell the property to a third party and then split the profits with Davis. Embezzled items included flat-screen televisions, designer purses, furniture, cell phones, automobiles and electronics.
Upon issuance of the charges, Davis and Riopelle were placed on unpaid suspension.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.