Oak Park: Embezzlement Charges Filed Against Sumner and Husband

essentialTOPtempOak Park: Embezzlement Charges Filed Against POWELLad_01Sumner and Husband

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 25, 2015)

Oak Park, MI – After months of investigation the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office has filed embezzlement charges against former Oak Park Deputy Clerk and Director of Elections Stephanie Sumner and her husband Michael Sumner. The couple is accused of stealing over $400,000 from the city while she was employed there.

City Maager Erik Tungate issued a statement on the charges Friday afternoon, stating “Stephanie Sumner held the position of Deputy City Clerk and Director of Elections. She was hired by the city in early 2012. Through a series of checks and balances and an internal audit, the city became aware of Ms. Sumner’s activities. She was promptly relieved of her duties in March of this year after an internal investigation determined there were grounds for twsted_tavern_AD_more texttermination. The matter was then handed to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department for formal investigation which resulted in charges placed against the couple.”

“All funds have been fully reimbursed to the city through fraud protection insurance coverage,” said Erik Tungate, Oak Park City Manager. “Oak Park remains a financially sound community.”

“The city hopes to send a strong message to any individual who believes they can defraud the City of Oak Park and dishonor the public’s trust in their government. The city has not, and will not, condone such acts.” said Tungate. “Be assured, we have processes and procedures in place to uncover acts of fraud. In the unfortunate case, such as this, we pursue justice to the fullest extent allowed by law, as witnessed by the charges made.”

After the discovery of this matter, the city’s policies and procedures underwent additional review and scrutiny. As a result, additional royal_servicessafeguards were instituted to further protect against situations like this from happening in the future.

“Our employees take great pride in their professionalism, ethical behavior and ability to serve their community,” said Tungate. “Ms. Sumner’s behavior does not represent that of our hardworking and dedicated staff.”

The news broke of the missing money when someone leaked the confidential information a local television station. The City was legally bound not to talk about the employee or the details of the case due to employee privacy rights, and so as not to jeopardize the Sheriff Department’s investigation.

In a previous interview Tungate stated that once he was certain a theft had taken place, he Sahara ad with winecalled in the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department so that an independent investigation could be made.

Tungate also talked about improvements made to the hiring process since he came on as City Manager in 2012. “When I came here, there was not an HR [Human Resources] function. I started that process right away. We now do background checks on people. We call former employers. We do reference checks, drug screenings.  Hiring the best employees and giving them the support they need is essential to a well-run city,” Tungate said. He made clear that the City’s financial health is strong and that the missing funds were replaced by insurance.

According to public records, defendants are currently housed at Oakland County Jail.

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