Charles Rizzo pleads guilty in Macomb corruption case

The Detroit News

A month after his son pleaded guilty in the Macomb County corruption scandal, Charles Rizzo did the same Friday afternoon in a federal courtroom in Port Huron.

Rizzo, 70, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud during the hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland.

The charge carries a penalty of five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both, court documents show. Rizzo is scheduled to be sentenced by Cleland at 1:30 p.m. April 19.

According to a superseding information filed in federal court, Charles Rizzo was involved in a scheme in August 2015 in which the owner of a recycling company was instructed to overcharge Rizzo Environmental Services for the purchase of Dumpsters. The next month, the owner of the recycler sent checks by mail to a third party for the Dumpster purchases.

Rizzo’s son Chuck Rizzo, the former CEO of trash-hauling firm Rizzo Environmental Services, pleaded guilty Nov. 9.

Chuck Rizzo, his father, Detroit towing titan Gasper Fiore, 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 stolen money to help pay for Chuck Rizzo’s mansion in Bloomfield Township, the government alleges.

Some of the stolen money bankrolled bribes for public officials to maintain and secure additional municipal garbage contracts, prosecutors say.

The ongoing Macomb County corruption scandal has led to criminal charges against 18 people — and 11 guilty pleas.

The scandal is focused on at least three fronts: Macomb County politicians pocketing bribes in exchange for approving municipal contracts with Sterling Heights trash hauler Rizzo Environmental Services, Fiore’s towing empire, and the Macomb County Public Works office.