Feds charge contractor in Macomb corruption scandal
Detroit — Federal prosecutors charged a 14th person in the Macomb County corruption scandal, a contractor accused of funneling $66,000 in kickbacks to a politician.
Christopher Sorrentino, 51, of Macomb Township was charged with structuring financial transactions to avoid current reporting requirements — a five-year felony. He was charged in a criminal information, which means a guilty plea is expected.
Court documents indicate Sorrentino accepted a check from an unnamed Macomb Township official for payment he did not perform. Sorrentino deposited the township check into his bank account.
The unnamed elected official told Sorrentino to pay him a $66,000 cash kickback, according to court records. To avoid IRS reporting requirements, Sorrentino wrote seven checks of less than $10,000 and gave $66,000 in cash to the elected official.
His lawyer Art Weiss declined comment.
Township Supervisor Janet Dunn was unaware of the allegations until Monday.
“I am very disappointed to learn of the allegations associated with this report,” she wrote in an email. “The supervisor’s office has instructed the appropriate individuals to further investigate this allegation, and I continue to encourage all township personnel to cooperate fully with any law enforcement investigation.”
The charge is the latest in a wide-ranging, ongoing investigation into public officials pocketing bribes in exchange for approving municipal contracts with Sterling Heights trash hauler Rizzo Environmental Services and a towing company.
Wrongdoing in Macomb Township has repeatedly factored into the investigation. In June, former Macomb Township Trustee Clifford Freitas, 44, pleaded guilty to demanding and accepting bribes.
In May, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller said a federal grand jury is investigating her office and has subpoenaed testimony from about a dozen public employees.
FBI agents are asking questions about Miller’s predecessor, Anthony Marrocco; his former deputy, Dino Bucci, and millions of dollars in payments to an unnamed county contractor, Miller said.
Bucci is a Macomb Township trustee.