Cuyahoga County

Probation officer sentenced for shakedowns

2/26/2016

Cleveland – A former Cuyahoga County probation officer who solicited bribes in exchange for special treatment from probationers under his direction has been sentenced to a year in jail, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced today.

Michael B. Williams, 46, of Bedford, entered a plea of guilty last month to four counts of Bribery. Today, Visiting Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Reinbold sentenced him to serve a year in the Lorain County Jail.

Evidence showed that on May 15, 2015, Williams solicited a payment of $750 from a probationer under his supervision. In exchange for a portion of the money, Williams offered early release from probation. The probationer contacted the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and agreed to help detectives with the investigation.

That same day, Sheriff’s detectives covertly recorded a meeting at a local restaurant, where the probationer handed Williams marked bills provided by the detectives. At the time of his arrest, detectives found Williams still in possession of the marked bills.

Through interviews with Williams and examination of his case load, Sheriff’s detectives learned of corruption involving eight other probation clients.  In at least one instance, investigators learned that Williams took cash from a probationer to falsify a report to the court indicating that the probationer had worked all of his required community service, when in fact the probationer had worked no hours. 

As part his plea, Williams acknowledged accepting total of $1,530 and 15 sandwiches to falsify probation reports and suspend drug tests.

“People who go through the Criminal Justice System work hard to satisfy the terms of their probation,” said Matthew Meyer, chief of the Public Corruption Unit in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, who represented the State of Ohio in this case.  “When a probation officer abuses his position of power to shake these people down for money, the entire system is diminished.”

Williams resigned from the Probation Department of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on June 30, 2015.

Contact: Joseph Frolik, Director of Communications and Public Policy. Phone: 216.443.7488 or
Email: jfrolik@prosecutor.cuyahogacounty.us