Ex-Rizzo CEO arraigned in Macomb County corruption case
Detroit — The embattled former CEO of Rizzo Environmental Services was arraigned in federal court Wednesday on a slew of bribery and conspiracy charges in a widespread corruption scheme.
Chuck Rizzo appeared with his attorney David Debold before Magistrate Judge Anthony P. Patti.
Rizzo is charged with five counts of bribery, three counts of conspiracy to commit bribery, a count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and 12 counts of mail and wire fraud.
Patti entered a not-guilty plea for Rizzo and released him on a $10,000 unsecured bond.
Rizzo, 46, of Bloomfield Hills was indicted in the corruption scandal after sources say he stopped cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The relationship soured after Rizzo had cooperated with an investigation into public officials pocketing bribes in exchange for approving municipal contracts with Rizzo’s firm and a towing company.
The 43-page indictment stems from tainted municipal contracts across Macomb County and alleges Rizzo stole from his own company to bribe elected officials and build a $2.5 million mansion.
The indictment came nearly eight months after the first public officials were charged with accepting bribes in exchange for awarding multimillion-dollar contracts to Rizzo’s company.
In all, 12 people have been charged in the corruption scandal.
The government alleges Rizzo, his father Charles P. Rizzo, 70; Detroit towing titan Gasper Fiore and Bloomfield Hills resident Derrick Hicks and others plotted to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from Rizzo Environmental Services using a fake legal settlement agreement, fraudulent consulting deals, kickbacks, shell companies and stealing money to help pay for Chuck Rizzo’s mansion in Bloomfield Township.
The bribery charges each carry a 10-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. The mail and wire fraud charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. And the bribery conspiracy charges carry a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.