Man charged with embezzlement allegedly stopped making payments - WNEM TV 5

Man charged with embezzlement allegedly stopped making payments after probation

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BAY COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A man thought he had made off with thousands until he got caught.

He still hasn't paid up, but he was allowed to go free.

The people affected feel like they're being victimized all over again.

That crime nearly crippled the Bay County Fair, but now they said because of a broken judicial system the man who did it isn't being held accountable.

In 2012 Michael Coyer stole more than $4,000 from the Bay County Fair account by writing 22 bogus checks. At the time he was the board president.

"We went to our convention down in Grand Rapids and that was the check that bounced," said Kristy Brandt, treasurer for the Bay County Fair.

After a tough year financially and struggles to keep the fair alive, she found out the fair's bank account was completely empty.

"I thought that the fair was done," Brandt said.

Coyer was charged with embezzlement and sentenced to nine months in jail. He was ordered to pay the money back.

"He was writing checks for cash and then cashing them himself," Brandt said.

Four years later, Coyer is off of probation and Brandt said he hasn't made a payment since July. So far he's paid back about $500.

"I believe the system is broken, very broken and it's really sad," Brandt said.

Brandt said she's forced to take action to get the money back and said the judgment was made in court. She doesn't think it should be her obligation to do so.

"It's unfortunate that he's not having to serve his time and make that restitution because it doesn't matter that we are doing better. He is, in my book, getting away with this," Brandt said.

Judge Joseph Sheeran said restitution is a court order so Coyer is still on the hook for the money he owes, but because he's no longer on probation there are steps the victim has to take to recoup the money.

"He was let off probation when he hadn't made a payment since July. I don't see how that's right. I don't see how that's fair," Brandt said.

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