Ex-36th District Court officer charged with embezzling
A former 36th District Court officer was arraigned Tuesday on a charge that he allegedly embezzled more than $15,000 in judgment money, state Attorney General Bill Schuette announced.
William Blake, 47, of Redford appeared before Magistrate Millicent Sherman of 36th District Court on four felony counts of embezzlement by a public official over $50. The court set a $50,000 personal recognizance bond.
Blake is a former court employee and later a former independent contractor when he allegedly pocketed judgment money paid to him in his capacity as a court officer from September 2013 and April 2014.
“Mr. Blake has taken personal advantage of the public position he was entrusted with,” Schuette said in a statement. “He broke his oath of office and the law to pad his own pockets and now he must face the consequences.”
As a court officer, Blake was assigned writs of executions and orders to seize property in order to collect funds for judgments. Instead of paying the money he collected to plaintiffs, he allegedly kept judgments totaling $14,700, according to Schuette’s office.
In one case, Blake allegedly went to the East Lake Baptist Church in Detroit and with his court-issued badge and gun, identified himself as a court officer. He demanded payment of $5,000 on an outstanding judgment. The pastor paid $1,000, which Blake allegedly pocketed.
Blake is accused of not filing the required court documents about the collection.
“Anyone contemplating acts to defraud this court or the public through an association with the court should take notice that such conduct will be thoroughly investigated and pursued in accordance with the law,” said Court Administrator Kelli Moore Owen.
Blake is set to return to court March 6 for a pre-exam conference.