Former GOP State Rep Facing Jail 

Daily Report April 18,2024

Former Michigan House Leader Lee Chatfield (R) has been charged in a scheme of alleged self-enrichment against state, campaign, and non-profit funds. Chatfield’s wife, Stephanie Chatfield, was also charged with two felonies.

State Attorney General Dana Nessel announced 13 counts against Chatfield, accusing him of rampant and flagrant misuse of political non-profit funds on Tuesday.

“Lee Chatfield misused various political funds, including his Peninsula Fund, which was not required to report the names of donors and served as an “unregulated slush fund,” Nessel said.

According to Nessel, the operation was a family affair, as Stephanie monitored her husband’s credit card balance and paid it off with cash from the Peninsula Fund to $132,000 over 14 months.

Nessel also said Chatfield’s brother cashed a $5,000 check from a political fund in 2020 and returned $3,500 to the lawmaker ahead of a vacation.

“Lee Chatfield’s various political funds took in more than $5 million over six years, including more than $2 million in 2020, which was his last year as speaker,” Nessel said.

The couple reportedly illegally made $525,000 through a variety of fraudulent activities between 2018 and 2020. According to Daily Mail, Chatfield’s schemes aimed to embezzle, steal, and convert private and public monies to fund a lavish lifestyle.

Meanwhile, the investigation into Chatfield only began in 2022 when his sister-in-law, Rebekah Chatfield, publicly said he had assaulted her.

She accused him of assaulting her when she was 15 years old. The accusations of assault go back 12 years when she was attending Northern Michigan Baptist Bible Church.

Nessel said there was insufficient evidence to charge Chatfield based on Rebekah’s allegations. Chatfield, however, denied the allegations and said they had a consensual affair.

It was after this that investigators expanded the case, which uncovered these alleged financial crimes.

Chatfield faces 13 charges, including conducting a criminal enterprise, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, and embezzlement. His wife, Stephanie, was also charged with embezzlement.

Chatfield’s attorney, Mary Chartier, said she’ll fight the charges every step of the way.

“It took almost 2 1/2 years for the AG’s office to come up with charges. It will be flimsy if it takes that long,” Chartier said.

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