(WXYZ) — Former Romulus Mayor LeRoy Burcroff was arraigned on a wire fraud charge Thursday in federal court, accused of using $15,000 in campaign funds for his personal benefit.
Burcroff stood mute while a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.
The charge against Burcroff, who did not seek re-election after the controversy, is outlined in a criminal information, which usually indicates the defendant plans to plead guilty.
If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
A former assistant U.S. attorney had previously told 7 Action News that, given the facts of the case, a more likely sentence was around one to two years, but that probation was also possible.
According to the 7 Action News Investigation, Burcroff’s family showed up all over his campaign statements, with thousands in payments made to his children, his brother, even his son-in-law for things like “office rent’,“ "campaign office maintenance” and “charitable donations," according to the October 2020 investigation.
The Michigan Secretary of State had also opened an investigation into Burcroff's campaign spending following WXYZ's reporting.
Last month, Burcroff's attorney Wally Piszczatowski released a statement, emphasizing his client's history in public service:
"If you talk to people that know LeRoy and those folks that actually worked with him at the city, (as opposed to some of his political enemies), they will tell you that LeRoy always gave 100% of his best efforts to his hometown, the city of Romulus, even giving money back to the city when it was experiencing tough financial times. LeRoy has great love for his hometown and helped turn the city around, which before his tenure, was experiencing layoffs, furloughed employees and closed parks. In fact, LeRoy has given nearly a quarter century of dedicated and honorable service to the city – a fact which no one that truly knows him will dispute."