Former Romulus (MI) Police Chief, Michael St. Andre, accused, with fellow officers, of illicitly diverting asset forfeiture funds to pay for drugs, hookers, and personal enrichment, has pled guilty to counts of embezzlement by a public official, misconduct in office, and of conducting a criminal enterprise.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said the investigation revealed that Michael St. Andre handpicked a members from the Romulus Police Special Investigations Unit to conduct investigations into Michigan Liquor Control Commission violations, prostitution, and narcotics trafficking at the two adult clubs, the Landing Strip Bar in Romulus and Subi’s Place in Southgate.
Those officers are now St. Andre's co-defendants, former Detective Sgt. Richard Allan Balzer, former Detective Richard Bruce Landry and former Detective Donald Ralph Hopkins. For a year, from January 2010 to January 2011, the crew conducted covert operations that the Special investigation Unit supervisor was hidden from and never filed a complaint with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, Worthy said.
The officers are accused of buying prostitutes "for personal gratification" during the course of their investigation. The Prosecutor's Office says $49,000 in forfeiture funds were never accounted for. Additionally, from 2006 to 2011, St. Andre and complicit subordinates filed false expense reports and otherwise siphoned forfeiture funds.
Once the external state police investigation began in 2009, because a whistleblower came forward, St. Andre is accused of attempting to bribe or intimidate witnesses.In February, St. Andre's wife, Sandra Vlaz-St. Andre, received a 7 to 20 year prison sentence for her alleged complicity in the forfeiture fund malfeasance. Among other things, she was accused of diverting forfeiture funds to a business owned by the Andres and into their personal bank accounts.