Rick Short hit with 24 new charges

Man reunited with stolen dog, finds closure in Short case
FLINT Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said Friday that RASCO CEO Richard A. Short now faces charges of fraud, embezzlement and obtaining money under false pretenses and illegally used an ATM card.

Short was charged Thursday with violating the conditions of his parole. He was arrested Wednesday, a day after the 57-year-old shared the stage with Gov. Jennifer Granholm as she announced RASCO would get $9.1 million in tax credits for setting up its headquarters in Flint.

Leyton says an elderly woman who lived next door to Short had money taken after Short persuaded her to give him power of attorney.

Short has a history of legal troubles.

In 1999, he took a plea deal in Genesee County and was sentenced to one year in jail for attempted uttering and publishing.

The original charges were forgery and uttering and publishing.

Court records show he, with help from a Delphi coworker posing as his estranged wife, defrauded a mortgage company in Oakland County.

Short obtained a check written for more than $73,000 and cashed it in Genesee County.

Short also spent time in prison after being convicted of embezzling money from a business in Norton Shores in Muskegon County.

Friday night there is some closure for at least one man. Rick Frase was being reunited with his poodle, Misty.

The Clayton Township man had been caring for her until Short took the 5-pound poodle.

"When he came to get the dog and he told me by court order he was taking the dog, and if not I would have to go to court, and that he has power of attorney," Frase said.

Frase was given the dog by 86-year-old Margaret Bennett, who has dementia.

"At least we found out the people that terrible that got her," Frase said.

And it was her husband, Lyman Smith, who returned the dog.

"When I heard about it, I just ... It's OK, buddy, for getting the dog back," Smith said.

Short is accused of stealing money and illegally using Bennett's ATM card.

"The guy is a real smooth guy," he said. "He could talk you out of your shirt."

And the convicted embezzler did almost talk the his way into $9 million in tax breaks. Tuesday he accepted the credits for his company RASCO LLC.

"There was never an attempt -- on certainly behalf of myself or the company -- to fleece, as the prosecutor says, tax credits from the state of Michigan."

Prosecutors believe that's exactly what he tried to do, along with stealing money from his elderly neighbor.

"He even got the power of attorney and everything, and he was signing her checks and everything," Smith said.

As the investigation continues, there's at least one sweet sign of justice.

"I will be glad to know that he won't be able to go out and swindle more people," Frase said.

Short is scheduled to be back in court next Friday. If convicted, it's possible he could spend up to life in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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