Southwest Michigan County Employee Charged With Embezzling $ 20,000



FILE – Generic hammer on wooden table.

A Berrien County building and land maintenance worker has been charged with embezzlement and could face up to five years in prison, authorities said.

Berrien County Building and Land Superintendent Joel Todd Johnson, 59, allegedly used county funds to purchase materials and tools for personal home construction and improvement jobs, according to the county prosecutor Steve Pierangeli.

Johnson was arrested on Friday. County officials said he was placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

The hijacking is said to have taken place from February to August of this year. The total cost alleged to have been purchased was $ 20,000.

“As county employees, we are accountable to our residents and our businesses and must be good stewards of the taxpayer money entrusted to us,” Berrien County Administrator Brian Dissette said in a release, according to WSJM in St. Joseph. “We expect all of our team members to operate at the highest ethical level at all times. We are fully cooperating with the judicial authorities and will demand the full return of any funds that may have been misappropriated.”

A message left for Johnson on Sunday was not immediately returned.


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