Attorney to stand trial in embezzlement from Carhartt leader’s trust

A Grosse Pointe Farms lawyer accused of embezzling several million dollars from the trust of late Carhartt leader Gretchen Valade will stand trial in Wayne County Circuit Court, a judge ruled Monday, just before the attorney was also charged with stealing from the trust of a Grosse Pointe Farms school.

David Sutherland, 58, was bound over for trial on four charges after a daylong preliminary exam Monday in Grosse Pointe Farms Municipal Court. The hearing included six prosecution witnesses, including Valade’s former housekeeper-turned-household manager and caretaker, investigators, a woman who worked with Sutherland who was given immunity to testify and a representative of Plante Moran, who now oversees the trust as well as related real estate holdings.

The defense called no witnesses.

Attorney James Joseph Sullivan, left, speaks with his client David Sutherland, an attorney who has been charged with embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from recently deceased Carhartt heiress Gretchen Valade's trust, after an arraignment hearing at Grosse Pointe Farms Municipal Court on January 11, 2023.

How prosecutors say Sutherland stole from Valade

Sutherland is facing two counts of embezzlement over $100,000, one count of embezzlement from a vulnerable adult of $100,000 or more and one count of conducting criminal enterprises. Each count is a 20-year felony offense.

Sutherland was trustee when the trust was created in 2009 to 2020.

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