ESCANABA - A two-day trial began today for an Illinois couple accused of removing the kitchen from their foreclosed home in Escanaba last year.
Donald George Smith, 47, and his wife, Sandra Kay Smith, 47, of Round Lake, Ill., are being tried in a joint trial in Delta County Circuit Court. They are each charged with one count of embezzling mortgaged property valued at $1,000 to $20,000, a five-year felony.
Jury selection began today's court proceedings. Witness testimony and evidence is expected to be presented today and Wednesday.
The Smiths were arrested in January following a six-month investigation alleging they had removed kitchen cabinets and appliances from their Escanaba home after it was foreclosed by First Bank in 2011. The couple has been free on bond since their arrests.
According to testimony presented during the preliminary examination in district court this spring, the Smith home at 528 S. 9th St. was undergoing foreclosure proceedings last year and was sold on a sheriff's sale in April 2011. Later that summer, the Smith's allegedly removed the custom kitchen valued at more than $30,000, according to testimony.
In addition to the maximum punishment of five years in prison, the embezzlement charge carries a maximum fine of $10,000 or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater.