Judge orders Macom County man to stay in jail until he can account for mother’s missing money.
Fred Smith, 73, of Utica, Michigan, has been ordered several times by two judges to provide legitimate documentation of how $6 million his mother’s money of which he controlled for ten years was spent while he served as power of attorney for three years and trustee of a trust for seven years. After a review of the case, Macomb County Probate Court Judge Sandra Harrison, appointed by Governor Rick Snyder, said Smith, previously placed behind bars, will remain in jail until he provides the information.
“Mr. Smith, you’re ordered to file these accounts,” Harrison said during the review. “These are not complicated orders. They’ve been in place for two years. You haven’t done anything to account for millions of dollars. We still don’t know where the money is. This won’t get resolved until we do.”
The next review will take place on December 12. Harrison also ordered Smith turn over the key to a storage unit he has in which he keeps a classic car. She believes it may have been purchased with his mother’s missing money.
Smith told the judge that he was unable to provide the requested information because he was behind bars with limited resources. He reported that the two computers in the law library don’t work. Smith said, “I need to get out and to a keyboard so I can get these things done.” He added, “I’m not effective in a jail cell, your honor. I’m limited to a short stubby pencil and limited amount of paper…It’s been difficult to operate at all without resources.”
“You made your bed. You have to get the accounts filed from jail,” Harrison responded. “Get it done, Mr. Smith.”
Attorney George Heitmanis, the guardian and conservator for Smith’s mother, Shelby Smith-Steves, pointed out the county Sheriff’s Office has launched a criminal investigation.
Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said his office “is investigating the spending of the funds and the legality of an associate of Smith taking a photo of Smith-Steves in the nursing home and posting it on Facebook without Heitmanis’ permission.” He said Smith “has failed to provide details about many things, including what happened to Smith-Steves’ homes in Tennesee and California, which were apparently sold…He won’t tell us what happened to the money. We don’t know what the truth is. The truth is in the documents.”
Some of the documents in question are those tied with a bankruptcy filed back in 2013 in which Smith listed the car in the storage facility along with two Jaguars and two motorcycles. Yet, he failed to follow through.
Smith was denied release so he could see his comfort dog, Schubert, who is in hospice care at a Romeo veterinarian clinic and was denied the ability to visit his mother in a nursing home nearby. Court records indicate Smith-Steves, who is 92 years old, will be at this location until her family is able to renovate her permanent residence in order to accommodate her needs. They will look after her when she returns.
At a previous hearing, Harrison told Smith he was “co-mingling everything and buying whatever you wanted to buy and keeping no record of it.” The judge issued a per-day fine which was to remain in place until he accounted for his mother’s money. That has accumulated to more than $100,000.