Ex-Detroit court officer sentenced in embezzlement case

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News
William Blake was charged in 2018 after an FBI investigation.

A former 36th District Court officer accused of abusing his authority to embezzle money in civil-judgment collections was sentenced Friday to one year in the Wayne County Jail, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Investigators found that between 2013 and 2015, William Blake collected payments from defendants in some cases but failed to file proper paperwork with the courts, instead depositing them into his bank accounts.

In one case, Blake allegedly went to Detroit's East Lake Baptist Church and identified himself as a court officer with his badge and gun. He demanded payment of $5,000 on an outstanding judgment, but pocketed the $1,000 the pastor paid, prosecutors have said.

“It’s a huge betrayal of public trust when someone who is tasked with maintaining law and order uses his position to threaten and coerce people to line his own pockets,” Nessel said. “This office will always take action against anyone who abuses their position for personal enrichment.”

The Attorney General’s Office filed charges against Blake, a former police officer, in February 2018 following an investigation by the FBI’s Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force.

In September, Blake pleaded guilty to two counts of felony embezzlement by a public official over $50 or more, admitting that he took more than $20,000, Nessel's office said. 

The 47-year-old Redford Township resident's sentence Friday also included two years of probation.