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Lawmaker Quits To Avoid Felony Charges As Part Of Plea Deal

Brian Banks
Michigan House Democrats

A state lawmaker has quit his job and agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor as part of a plea deal.  This creates the first vacancy of this session of the Legislature.

State Representative Brian Banks (D-Harper Woods) avoided possible felony convictions and many years in prison by trading away his office for lesser charges. 

Banks was accused of lying about his finances to get a credit union loan, which he had trouble paying back.  He used forged pay stubs to suggest he could afford the loan.  When the scheme came to light,  state Attorney General BillSchuette’s office charged Banks with two felony counts of uttering and publishing, which could have landed him in prison for 14 years.

Because Banks had earlier racked up other convictions for credit card fraud and writing bad checks, he could have faced an enhanced sentence as a habitual offender. 

The scheme took place before Banks was an elected official.  But Andrea Bitely of the state Attorney General’s office says Banks’ position shouldn’t shield him from the consequences of his past behavior.

“Especially because he’s an elected official, he has a higher level of responsibility, and we expect those in elected office to be a role model in their community,” she said, “and Mr. Banks violated this trust.” 

Banks entered his plea in a Detroit courtroom and publicly agreed to quit his job.

Governor Rick Snyder will have to call a special election to fill the vacancy left by the metro Detroit Democrat. 

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network. Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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