ESCANABA - Additional witness testimony is scheduled today during day two of a trial against an Illinois couple accused of removing the kitchen from their foreclosed home in Escanaba last year.
Five witnesses testified Tuesday in Delta County Circuit Court during the trial of Donald George Smith, 47, and his wife, Sandra Kay Smith, 47, of Round Lake, Ill. Each is charged with embezzling mortgaged property valued at $1,000 to $20,000, a five-year felony.
Escanaba Public Safety arrested the couple in January after investigating a complaint from First Bank that they had allegedly removed kitchen cabinets and appliances from their Escanaba home after it was foreclosed in 2011.
The Smith home at 528 S. 9th St. was sold in a sheriff sale in April 2011. Later that summer, the custom kitchen, valued at more than $30,000, was removed from the house. The president of First Bank was the first witness to testify Tuesday following jury selection and opening statements by the defense and prosecution. Other bank employees who testified included Todd Maki, First Bank vice president, and James Hansen, loan recovery manager for First Bank.
Escanaba Public Safety Det. Sgt. Tony LaPlant was the last witness to testify on Tuesday. Earlier in the afternoon, an Escanaba resident who lived near the Smiths, also took the witness stand.
Jury selection took about three and a half hours before the panel of four female and eight male jurors was chosen Tuesday morning. The trial is scheduled to last two days.
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.