Police discover $855K embezzlement scheme in state agency

Apr 15, 2021

LANSING, MI (AP)--   A former state employee has been charged with embezzlement after investigators discovered that he stole more than $855,000 paid by well owners who needed permits.

Authorities say the figure likely reached $1.5 million, but the statute of limitations has run out on some of Joseph Pettit’s alleged acts. Pettit worked at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy.

Companies that drill or operate gas or oil wells must pay a performance bond to the state, but the bond typically is returned when a well changes hands. Pettit is accused of diverting money to accounts created in the names of phony vendors.