Township treasurer flees state, changes name - WNEM TV 5

Township treasurer flees state, changes name

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ARENAC COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A local township official fled the state and changed her name and now she's accused of embezzling thousands of dollars.

Friday, the small community was in disbelief that she could be involved in such a serious crime.

"I don't believe it," Laura Ziembo said.

Ziembo was shocked when she found out her friend Bonnie Campbell is in legal trouble. Campbell, who used to go by the name Michelle Mackenzie, is the former treasurer in Arenac Township.

The Arenac County prosecutor's office said Campbell embezzled more than $20,000 from the township during a five-year period from 2006 to 2011. She hasn't been formally charged yet because she now resides in Utah.

Ziembo said she knew Campbell for three years and never imagined she could be involved with such a serious crime.

"She was good with kids. She was always a volunteer. She volunteered for our local booster club at Arenac Eastern. I mean she was just an awesome lady," Ziembo said.

According to the assistant prosecuting attorney, Campbell is expected to return from Utah and turn herself in early next week to face her charges.

"That's good then. That's looking better for her then. You know she's going to come back and try to prove she didn't take anything," said Dave Violette, a township resident.

He said he's never had any problems with Campbell either, but he wants to see justice served in the event that Campbell is convicted on the charges.

"I don't like it. That's a lot of money, $20,000 is a lot to be losing for a township that's struggling as it is. If she did it she deserves what she's going to get. We'll see," Violette said.

Meanwhile, Ziembo wants everything to work out for Campbell. She said she's concerned about her friend facing the prospect of jail time.

"I hope this is all a big misunderstanding. Because she's a nice lady and I would really hate to see her go to prison," she said.

If convicted, Campbell faces up to 10 years in prison.

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