Ex-attorney gets 37 months in prison for bribery, fraud

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

A former Birmingham attorney was sentenced to 37 months in prison for an immigration fraud and bribery scheme, acting United States Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch announced Monday.

Charles Busse, 59, of Birmingham was sentenced Monday before U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn.

In November, Busse pleaded guilty to four felony charges in connection with the bribery scheme. He was accused of paying a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent to obtain deportation deferrals and other immigration benefits for his clients.

Busse, who had law offices in Rochester Hills and Dearborn, also allegedly took money from clients for the illegal deferrals between 2009 and 2015. The scheme involved multiple people from Albania, Iraq and Mexico, officials said.

Busse served as the council president in Warren and while in office in 2003, was acquitted of charges he accepted bribes. He lost his re-election bid in November of that year.

“Busse preyed upon illegal immigrants for one purpose, his own enrichment,” Lemisch said in a statement. “He misled law enforcement agencies with evidence he personally concocted. Attorney Busse let down the entire legal profession by his conduct.”

Busse also was convicted of criminal tax evasion and for not reporting cash payments of more than $10,000, which is required of attorneys. He was ordered to pay the Internal Revenue Service $575,753.50 in unpaid taxes and penalties.

“Let this sentencing stand as an example that the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General will tirelessly pursue and bring to justice those selfish individuals who attempt to corrupt the Department of Homeland Security’s programs and operations,” said Giovanni Tiano, special agent in charge of the Detroit office of the Department of Homeland Security. “The Office of Inspector General considers Charles Busse’s crimes a direct attack on our national security.”