The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 14, 1994 - 7
ludge sentences Morberg to 61/2 years
LANSING (AP)-John Morberg,
who turned a state checking account
intohis personal money machine, was
sentenced to 61/2 years in prison yes-
terday for his part in the $1.8 million
House Fiscal Agency scandal.
U.S. District Judge David
SKeague also ordered the former fis-
cal agency director to repay $406,200
to the state and $10,477 to the Internal
And McKeague ruled that while
the 49-year-old Morberg is in prison,
will go to payoff those debts.
Morberg's attorney, Stephen
Rabaut, asked for that to be changed,
*nting out that his client owes some
$100,000 in other debts.
"That is the appropriate place for"
the funds ,to go and not toward the
payment ofthe other indebtedness that
the defendant has," McKeague replied.
McKeague did not impose interest
on that amount and did not fine
Morberg. At $1,977 a month, Morberg
would end up paying $154,206 on the
6,677 he owes.
"This has been a long, drawn-out
matter," McKeague told Morberg.
time and rehabilitate yourself."
He said Morberg would be on su-
pervised release for three years after
leaving prison and a probation officer
would set his monthly restitution pay-
ments while he's free.
Morberg was scheduled to appear
at 9 a.m. today before Ingham County
Circuit Judge Peter Houk for sentenc-
ing on those charges. PartofMorberg's
plea deal calls for any state sentence to
be served at the same time as his federal
McKeague said he would let sentence.
John Morberg, who spearheaded the House
Fiscal Agency conspiracy, was ordered to pay
back $406,20 to the state and $10,477 to the
IRS. His $1,977 per-month state pension will go
toward repayment while he is in prison, which is
only $154,206 of the $416,677 he owes.
tion into selling arms to Croatia.
Morberg, testifying against some
of his long-time friends, described how
he'd written scores of checks from the
petty cash fund. The money went for
widevariety of uses, includingcarloans,
dental work and tax payments, he tes-
Morberg also admittedgetting kick-
backs. At one court hearing, he de-
scribed writing alHouseFiscal Agency
staff person a check for $4,600 and
getting back $2,300. "He needed money
and so did I," he flatly explained.
The Detroit News broke the scan-
dalonJan. 15,1993 andJimMitzelfeld,
who is nowa University Law student,
won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of
After it broke, House Democratic
Leader Curtis Hertel, of Detroit,
stripped the Legislature's longest-serv-
ing member, Rep. Dominic Jacobetti
(D-Negaunee) of the House Appro-
priations chairmanship he'd held since
As the committee chairman,
Morberg had direct control of the fiscal
agency, which does budget analysis
and revenue forecasting for the 110-
Morberg voluntarily surrender to be-
gin serving his sentence and said he
would be notified within the next 30
days on when and where he had to
Morberg sat nearly motionless dur-
ingyesterday's sentencing. He declined
to talk to reporters afterward.
Morberg pleaded guilty April 14 to
racketeering and income tax evasion as
part of aplea bargain. He pleaded guilty
May 31 to two state counts of con-
spiracy to embezzle.
Rabaut has 10 days to appeal, but
said he did not know if there would be
According to the federal and state
criminal complaints, Morberg tapped
the House Fiscal Agency's petty cash
account to bankroll a high-roller's
lifestyle and help outfriends, colleagues
They describe how Morberg wrote
checks from the account to pay for
remodeling his house, buying into a
landfill project and to fund an explora-
John Morberg leaves federal court in Lansing yesterday after being
sentenced to 78 months in federal prison for racketeering.
Drugs smuggled easily
into Michigan pnisons
. . ,
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LANSING (AP) - While high- ward.
technology systems are aimed at keep- Guards are posted in
ing weapons out of Michigan's pris- which sometimes hav
ons, officials say large amounts of eras. Drug-sniffing dog
smuggled drugs are reaching inmates make surprise checks.
from the outside. "We're making a v
Visitors hide marijuana and other effort to deter this kind
drugs in body cavities, folds of fat or in Fred Funston, spoke
their mouths, authorities say. Saginaw Regional Cor
"They also send contraband through ity.
the mail, tucked away in coat linings or But Funston and)
cassette packages. It's not very diffi- LeCureauxoftheKinros
cult to smuggle things into prison," correctional facilities
said state police Detective Robin Sex- seen a recent surge in dr
ton of the St. Ignace post. Investigators said in
"There are a lot of drugs in the from visitors, mail, gu
prisons," she added. contacts.
Department of Corrections statis- Visitors hide drugpa
tics show that the number of drug- cavities or on their bo
misconduct charges against inmates them along during visit
totaled4,941 lastyear. Misconductrep- the package in a bodyc
resents a violation of prison policy, not low the drugs in a pa
necessarily a criminal charge. until it passes through
"It appears that drugs areas readily system.
available in the prison system as they Tague said the sta
are on the street," said Muskegon policy is "much too lib
County Prosecutor Tony Tague. Lion should be aprivileg
Corrections officials played down based on conduct."
drug use in the system. A recent report LeCureaux oppose
on substance abuse services showed in visitation rules.
that the share of inmates testing posi- "I don't think we sh
tivefordrugs fell to4.7 percent in 1992 visitors for the sins ofa
from 11I percent in 1986. His prisons have tak
Spokeswoman Gail Light said the including security came
department's statistics "don't bear out drugs.
any serious problem with drug abuse." Two corrections off
To combat contraband, guards last yearformarijuana p
search all visitors and send them through many prisons have larg
metal detectors. Inmates are searched it difficult for guards to
before a visit and strip-searched after- that may be thrown ov
e security cam-
[of thing," said
esman for the
said they have
cards and fence
ackages in body
dies, then pass
ts. Inmates hide
cavity or swal-
ckage and wait
ge that is earned
hould punish all
a few," he said.
ken other steps,
ficers were fired
e yards, making
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