'Fake' company set up to steal more than $9-million

Law enforcement says corruption, tax credits, and a con artist nearly cost Michigan tax payers more than $9-million.

The story starts more than two years ago on September 26, 2008, when Carl XVI Gustaf, the king of Sweden, visited Flint to talk about the future of bio gas.

His appearance caught the eyes of all local media outlets, and according to law enforcement it also caught the eyes of Richard Short.

That's the day, according to the prosecutor, Short devised a plan to defraud our state. Genesee Co. Prosecutor David Leyton says, "Tthe evidence indicates a massive con job by defendant Short against the people of Michigan."

That evidence, Leyton says, includes a letter of credit printed from short's own personal computer.

The state awarded Short more than $9-million to set up shop in Flint.

Short said he would invest $18.5-million and create more than 1,000 renewable energy jobs. Officials say, it was all smoke and mirrors.

Genesee Co. Sheriff Robert Pickell held up a binder during Monday's press conference and said, "This is his business plan, which can best be described as "Google fluff. You'll find it all on Google."

During the announcement of tax credits,a member of Michigan's parole board spotted Short and soon had him arrested for violating his parole.

He had already served time for embezzling and has been in the Genesee County Jail since March for other charges.

The charges announced Monday include racketeering, which carries a 20-year prison and/or a $100,000 fine. The other charges are false pretenses and attempted false pretenses, which carry prison time and fines.

Short did not receive any money from the state.

He's already been charged with 24-counts of felony fraud. That case has been bound over to circuit court.

He allegedly stole thousands of dollars from 86-year-old Peggy Bennett, who had dementia, as a way to finance his plan.