CCN (Crazy Cal News) - Michigan - Clayton R. Smart, 67, of Okmulgee, Okla., and Michigan attorney Craig Bush decided that ripping off the living wasn't enough for them. In an effort to solve that pressing problem, they decided to rip off the dead.
Mr. Smart bought 28 Michigan cemeteries in August 2004, then misappropriated $61 million previously set aside for burials and maintenance according to a complaint filed by Michigan's attorney general. Clayton Smart, an oil speculator, was charged with embezzling as much as $70 million from Michigan cemetery trust funds surrendered to police Thursday in Oklahoma and will soon be extradited, Michigan's attorney general said. Smart also failed to set aside the $9 million required by state law for cemeteries 10 acres and larger, said the complaint.
Smart faces 39 felony counts of racketeering, embezzlement and misuse of cemetery funds, according to a complaint. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Smart bought the cemeteries from Michigan attorney Craig Bush, then arranged a $21 million kickback to Bush, said Cox, who declined to say whether Bush was being investigated or faced charges.
Attorney General Mike Cox said, "He stole money from the dead. We're afraid to prosecute the attorney because he's a Bush and he's involved with oil money. We don't want any backlash from President Bush, like being named an unlawful enemy combatant and being held without representation or trial."