- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - A former administrator of a now-shuttered veterans home in Michigan has been charged with embezzling thousands of dollars and using some of the money for personal expenses including groceries, T-shirts and online game purchases, authorities said.

Michael Campbell, 57, was arraigned Monday in Calhoun County District Court on charges of embezzlement of more than $1,000 and less than $20,000 from a nonprofit agency and using a computer to commit a crime. Both charges carry maximum sentences of 10 years in prison.

Campbell is the former administrator of the Legion Villa in Springfield. When it closed in 2013 the facility was home to about 20 veterans. Sheriff’s Detective Steve Hinkley that investigators believe Campbell took as much as $250,000 over five years.

“Mr. Campbell faithfully served the Legion Villa and he is going to vigorously defend the allegations because they are not true,” said Campbell’s lawyer, Jason Bomia.

The investigation began in March and is ongoing, Hinkley told the Battle Creek Enquirer (https://bcene.ws/1pGEoZ6 ), but investigators said they think Campbell used the money for personal expenses, including to buy groceries, rifle parts, fudge and T-shirts from Mackinac Island and iTunes purchases for the game Candy Crush Saga.

Campbell was ordered to appear for a preliminary examination on July 14. He was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. Hinkley said he and Deputy Kevin Callahan investigated the case and when they interviewed Campbell he admitted to using Legion Villa money and credit cards for personal expenses.

Bomia, however, said that’s not true and he’s “not aware of any admissions.”

Tom Starkweather, the Legion Villa board chairman, said “we are saddened by the news.” Starkweather said all the veterans, including one who lived there 33 years, have found new places to live.

“I have tried to keep tabs on them and they seem to be doing quite well,” he said.

The facility was closed after the City of Springfield condemned it because a rotunda building, built in 1918, had become unstable. The structure was next to the living area built in 1954. The older portion had begun to collapse and city officials were concerned it might fall onto the living area.


Information from: Battle Creek Enquirer, https://www.battlecreekenquirer.com

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