Granholm Calls for Extradition of Man Charged with Embezzling $70 Million in Michigan Cemetery Trust Funds

Contact: Michelle Begnoche 517-335-6397

May 17, 2007

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today initiated proceedings to extradite Clayton Ray Smart from Oklahoma for a trial in Michigan.  Smart is charged with 39 felony counts for the alleged embezzlement of up to $70 million in trust funds required for the perpetual care of Michigan cemeteries.

"Today we are assuring citizens that the state of Michigan will bring embezzlers to justice," Granholm said.  "Those who steal our citizen's money can't outrun the reach of the law."

Granholm added that the extradition proceedings are the result of the diligent work of dedicated state employees at the Department of Labor and Economic Growth and the Department of Attorney General.

A criminal complaint alleges that Smart purchased 28 cemeteries located throughout the state of Michigan, converted up to $61 million of the cemeteries' trust assets to his own use, and failed to pay up to $9 million into the cemeteries' trust funds as required by Michigan law.  Smart was arrested in Oklahoma and is currently being held pending extradition.  If convicted, Smart could face up to 20 years in prison.

Under the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, the power to execute an extradition agreement for an individual in Oklahoma is vested only in Governor Granholm and Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry.  Now that Governor Granholm has signed the extradition request, it has been sent to Governor Henry for his agreement. 

A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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