Former Allegan County Commissioner Terry Burns Pleads Guilty To Attempted Embezzlement Charges
Former Allegan County Commissioner Terry Burns faces an August 29 sentencing date after pleading guilty Monday (June 30) in Allegan County Circuit Court to attempted embezzlement charges.
Burns, a Saugatuck resident, entered his plea before Allegan County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Cronin, who will sentence him after receiving and reviewing a pre-sentencing report. Burns could receive probation or be sentenced to up to five years in prison.Burns, who also previously served as Saugatuck Township Supervisor, admitted loaning himself $16,500 from the estate of a friend, Joe Migas who suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Burns was guardian for Migas during the period in which the embezzlement occurred.
Burns also admitted to loaning political consultant Matt Muxlow $10,750 of Migas’s money to help Burns in his run for state representative in 2013. Burns pulled out of the state race after coming under investigation in the embezzlement case.
Allegan Country Probate Judge Michael Buck last year suspended Burns’ guardianship of Migas and his finances because of “possible financial exploitation” and “excessive expenditures.”
Burns has been running his own business - Lakeshore Counseling Services - for the past several years.
In earlier interviews, Burns admitted he made mistakes and after the investigation was launched he said he put the money he borrowed from Migas into the hands of his attorney, Brad Johnson.
Burns said at the time allegations he took $80,000 from an account holding $167,000 was inaccurate because he used nearly $14,000 to renovate the house that Migas and his long-time girlfriend, Janet Fahey, share in Fennville.
But he acknowledged he shouldn’t have written checks on Migas’ account.