A Howell man accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a motorcycle dealership by selling parts on the side has been found not guilty on all charges.

An Eaton County jury acquitted 52-year-old Stephen Elliott on all counts Wednesday, after deliberating for just two hours. He was charged with embezzlement of $100,000 or more and accused of selling parts on the side from Capitol Harley-Davidson in Dimondale. He was accused of embezzling an estimated $280,000 over the course of a five year period from 2009 to 2014, the last year he worked at the dealership.

Elliott’s defense attorney Neil Rockind tells WHMI his client has steadfastly denied the allegations and any parts sold was done with the owners blessing. He says although Elliott was hired as the general manager, the owner was actively involved in managing the business. Rockind says there was also a revenge component to the case as Elliott and the owner had entered into an agreement to potentially purchase the dealership. When it appeared that would not pan out, Elliott left the dealership but was then accused of embezzlement.

Rockind says this is an “extraordinary case of the legal system working” and they are thrilled with the verdict. After three years, he says Elliott is able to get back to a life of normalcy and have this cloud over his head lifted. Elliott told WHMI “I’m happy to be vindicated and thankful for friends and family who knew I was innocent.” (JM)