(WXYZ) — Former Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff has been charged after a 7 Action News investigation found he used campaign funds for personal expenses.
According to a federal complaint, Burcroff was charged with one count of wire fraud in federal court for allegedly spending more than $15,000 in campaign funds on personal use.
The charge is outlined in a criminal information, which usually indicates the defendant plans to plead guilty.
"Is it stupid someone would throw away their life and career over $15,000? Yes," said Anjali Prasad, a former assistant U.S. attorney who today is a criminal defense lawyer. "But my guess is, there’s a lot more here that didn’t make it into the charging document and the parties agreed to the $15,000."
According to the 7 investigation, Burcroff’s family showed up all over his campaign statements, with thousands in payments made to his children, his brother, even his son-in-law for things like “office rent’, “campaign office maintenance” and “charitable donations," according to the October 2020 investigation.
While probation is possible, Prasad said prison time is more likely.
"$15,000 will absolutely land you two years in federal prison," Prasad said. "It seems like a small amount with a stiff sentence, but that’s the way the federal guidelines work."
A call to Burcroff's cell phone for comment today was not returned, but his criminal attorney Wally Piszczatowski released the following statement:
"If you talk to people that know LeRoy and those folks that actually worked with him at the city, (as opposed to some of his political enemies), they will tell you that LeRoy always gave 100% of his best efforts to his hometown, the city of Romulus, even giving money back to the city when it was experiencing tough financial times. LeRoy has great love for his hometown and helped turn the city around, which before his tenure, was experiencing layoffs, furloughed employees and closed parks. In fact, LeRoy has given nearly a quarter century of dedicated and honorable service to the city – a fact which no one that truly knows him will dispute."
Burcroff also allegedly used his campaign fund to pay for $3,800 in memberships to the Belleville Yacht Club, plus thousands more listed as “donations.”
On November 2, 2017, his campaign made a “charitable donation” of $2,000 to the private club followed by another $2,428 on November 10.
The next day, as photos posted to Facebook show, the Burcroffs were seen celebrating their daughter’s wedding at the Belleville Yacht Club.
He also admitted to using nearly $15,000 from the fund to make regular donations to his own church.
Contact 7 Investigator Ross Jones at email@example.com or at (248) 827-9466.