GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - UPDATED 4:00 PM 8/11/2017
Four Grand Rapids Home for Veterans members are being involuntarily discharged after selling non-taxed cigarettes inside the home.
Late Friday afternoon, the MSP confirmed what the 13 Watchdog team had learned that it was requested to investigate the allegations veterans at the Home for Veterans were selling cigarettes that hadn't been purchased in the state.
MSP Public Affairs Manager Shanon Banner indicated MSP was requested to investigate the allegations and said at this point, detectives have completed the investigation and turned the report over to Attorney General Bill Schuette's office.
Schuette's spokeswoman Andrea Bitely says the attorney general's office has not received the investigation and says, ultimately, investigators will look to see if any crimes were committed.
The 13 Watchdog team obtained a document showing the dismissal of a long-time veteran from the facility for "the illegal selling of cigarettes while residing at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans."
A news release issued by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency indicated in the fall of 2016, administrators at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans became aware of the possibility that a member or members of the home may have been selling non-taxed cigarettes.
The MVAA indicates that after an internal review, a decision was made to warn those involved of what the rules of the home were and of state laws related to the sale of tobacco products.
Based on further information, in January 2017, staff at the GRHV contacted law enforcement, which led to an investigation by Michigan State Police.
Advocates for the veterans have already expressed concern to our investigative team the veterans would be left with no place to go.
Suzanne Thelen with the MVAA says arrangements are being made for the discharged members to be transferred for safe placement.
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