PORT HURON, Mich. — A former accountant of a Michigan nonprofit has been charged with embezzling more than $1 million during his employment, according to a statement from the Port Huron Police Department.
Richard Laurence Hartwick, a 71-year-old former employee of the Blue Water Center for Independent Living, was arraigned Sunday on six felony charges including racketeering, criminal enterprise, embezzlement over $100,000, computer fraudulent access, computer used to commit a crime and credit card fraud, according to police.
Port Huron Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit handled the investigation along side the Michigan State Police, serving a search warrant at Hartwick’s Okemos home on March 29. According to police, Hartwick admitted to his involvement when his home was searched.
Laura Steele, Blue Water Center of Independent Living executive director, said she had recently noticed some discrepancies in their finances before turning that discovery over to police.
Previously associate director, Steele has been director since the end of January. She declined to provide any further information.
According to its Facebook page, “The Blue Water Center for Independent Living is a consumer driven organization that advocates, informs and supports all people with disabilities to live independently.”
Hartwick was also convicted of embezzlement in 2000, according to a press release. He was suspected of embezzling more than $3 million from a Detroit-area auto supplier over the course of six years, according to the statement.
Michigan State Police Det. Eric Shumaker said Hartwick did serve a prison sentence but has been out of confinement for a while.
“If anyone else thinks they’re a victim, we can talk about it,” he said.
Shumaker said Hartwick worked for the nonprofit for a number of years until recently separating.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Shumaker at the Michigan State Police Lapeer Post, 810-664-2905 or the Port Huron Major Crimes Unit at 810-984-5383.
Shumaker said Hartwick worked at the nonprofit’s Port Huron location, however investigators were working to determine if funding at other BWCIL locations were involved.
Hartwick has a probable cause conference scheduled for 9 a.m. April 9 in front of St. Clair County District Judge Cynthia Platzer. A preliminary examination is set for April 16.
Bond was set at $1 million cash/surety. Hartwick did not immediately have a lawyer listed in court dockets.
Follow Liz Shepard on Twitter: @lvshepard. Jackie Smith contributed to this report.
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