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Cop: Ex-Oak Park worker spent city’s money over 2 years

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Oak Park — A former deputy city clerk and her husband allegedly spent $433,000 embezzled from city funds on “everyday purchases, over a two-year period,” according to a lead investigator in the case.

Stephanie and Michael Sumner, both 42 year-old Waterford Township residents, are charged with several counts of embezzlement which allegedly occurred between January 2013 and March 2015 while she was a deputy city clerk and director of elections in Oak Park.

“We know what the money was spent on but aren’t going to discuss it all at this time,” Oakland County Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Cole said Friday. “It was converted for personal purchases and I can tell you it didn’t go for any high end purchases or towards gambling or drugs.

“It’s nothing we can recover. It’s gone.”

Oak Park City Manager Erik Tungate said the city has been reimbursed for all losses by the city’s insurance carrier.

Stephanie Sumner, who is free on $50,000/10 percent bond, waived her right to a preliminary exam in Oak Park 45-B District Court on Thursday. She is scheduled to be arraigned next Wednesday before Oakland Circuit Judge Phyllis McMillen on two counts of embezzlement over $100,000 and third count of over $20,000 but less than $50,000. The offenses carry up to 20 years in prison.

Michael Sumner is charged with five embezzlement offenses of lesser amounts but all felonies which each carry up to five years in prison. Sumner, who requested a court-appointed attorney Thursday, remains free on $10,000 bond/10 percent and is scheduled to return to district court Oct. 29.

Both are required to wear GPS tethers as a condition of bond.

The embezzlement of city money went undetected during a routine outside professional audit of city funds.

The missing funds were discovered when other city workers went to a supervisor last March with suspicions regarding Sumner, who had worked at city hall since 2012.

Tungate said following an initial probe, Sumner was immediately terminated and the matter turned over to authorities for possible criminal charges.

U.S. District Court bankruptcy records in Detroit show the Sumners filed for bankruptcy in 2012 but their case was dismissed for lack of payments. They filed again Sept. 3, 2015, listing $133,750 in total assets, which included their $120,000 house, and $181,581 in liabilities, according to court records.

Stephanie Sumner was recently employed by a Lake Orion roofing company and her husband as a mechanic in Waterford Township, according to court records. The pair had joint income of more than $93,000 in 2014 and nearly $92,000 in 2013.

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