Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Former Romulus mayor sentenced to probation


Former Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff, 59, will serve three-years probation and four months of home confinement following his conviction on charges of misuse and theft of campaign funds, according to United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.

Burcroff entered a guilty plea to wire fraud in 2022. He did not admit guilt of charges of federal campaign finance violations of using more than $15,000 in campaign finances for personal expenses as claimed in an investigation by the FBI.

U.S. District Judge Denise Paige Hood handed down her sentencing decision last week.

The charges stem from the use of funds in a committee to elect (CTE) bank account entitled “Committee to Elect LeRoy D. Burcroff” established by Burcroff during his successful campaign for mayor in 2014.  According to court documents, during the next two-and-a-half years, Burcroff defrauded donors to his CTE account by using campaign funds for his personal benefit rather than for his election. Court documents alleged that in November 2017 Burcroff spent more than $3,500 of campaign donors’ money to pay for a family member’s wedding.

Burcroff also spent campaign funds on a church fee, a banquet room rental, flowers, and the liquor expenses at his daughter’s wedding, according to court documents. Prosecutors claimed that in 2017 and 2018, Burcroff used CTE funds to pay more than $11,600 in dues and expenses to a yacht club which he used for his personal benefit. The federal investigation determined that on multiple occasions, Burcroff overpaid his yacht club dues using his campaign account, which resulted in the yacht club issuing a refund, which Burcroff deposited in his personal bank account. Court documents alleged that in 2018, Burcroff made a $1,000 donation of campaign funds to a trade industry with the hope that he would receive a promotion at his private sector job. In 2019, Burcroff spent more than $4,000 of campaign funds on a personal vacation to Florida with friends.

In a letter to the court last year prior to his sentencing, Burcroff stated, ““I agonize every day over what I did. I wish I could do things over, but I know I can’t.

“I never thought 

I would be in this 

position standing before a judge, admitting to breaking the law, and asking for your leniency. ... I made some terrible mistakes, made some terrible decisions. ... I am so sorry.”

“Trust in our state’s campaign finance system is a critical component of a healthy representative democracy. Mr. Burcroff’s conviction and sentence underscores our 

commitment to ensuring that the citizens of the Eastern District are represented by public 

officials who have integrity and are seeking office not for their self-interest, but for the good of the people they are elected to represent,” Ison said.

“The citizens of Michigan demand and deserve utmost trust and integrity in our campaign finance system,” said Special Agent in Charge Cheyvoryea Gibson of the FBI in Michigan. “The former Mayor’s actions severely undermined the confidence of those who bestowed trust and faith in him and his office. The FBI and law enforcement partners are fully dedicated to fighting public corruption by investigating and exposing corrupt officials whose greed erodes the public’s trust in the government. We will not tolerate misconduct and will do everything we can to ensure justice is served.”

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Detroit Area Corruption Task Force. The case was being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eaton P. Brown.