MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – A Macomb Township trustee faces a list of corruption charges as federal investigators say he ran a "pay-to-play" bribery conspiracy with contractors and extorted tens of thousands of dollars.
Dino Bucci, 58, is charged with eighteen counts of conspiracy, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, mail fraud, and money laundering. Acting United State Attorney Daniel Lemisch's office said Bucci was part of a nine-year bribery conspiracy with other public officials and with various contractors.
"As part of the conspiracy, Bucci directed contractors to give him tens of thousands of dollars in cash, checks, and gift cards in exchange for work and contracts with Macomb Township and Macomb County," a statement from Lemisch's office reads. "Bucci also directed the contractors to give him hundreds of thousands of dollars in checks and cash as part of political fundraising events, including golf outings and dinners, in exchange for county and township contracts. During the course of the conspiracy, Bucci served as an elected Trustee of Macomb Township and as the Operations Manager, among other positions, at the Macomb County Department of Public Works."
Moreover, Bucci is accused of bribing contractors.
"As part of the conspiracy, engineering and other contractors knew that they had to 'pay-to-play' in order to get county and township contracts by giving money to Bucci and buying tickets to political fundraisers for Bucci and his political allies. One contractor decided to 'get in the game' by purchasing thousands of dollars in fundraising tickets in order to get engineering contracts," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
In addition to bribery, Bucci is charged with engaging in extortion over the course of at least five years.
"In this regard, Bucci used his official positions at the county and the township to threaten to withhold permits on development work and home construction in order to force them to pay him tens of thousands of dollars in cash and kickbacks," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
- Metro Detroit trash magnate Chuck Rizzo pleads guilty to bribery, could face 10 years in prison
- Filing: Trash hauler Rizzo to forfeit $4M in Macomb bribery case
Other counts of the indictment charge Bucci with embezzling and conspiring to embezzle tens of thousands of dollars from Macomb Township through a variety of criminal and fraud schemes.
"For example, Bucci got one contractor awarded a job to pave the Macomb Township Hall parking lot for over $250,000. Unbeknownst to the township, however, Bucci had gotten another contractor to do the work for just over $180,000, with Bucci collecting a kickback of $66,000 in cash in a bag at the headquarters of the Macomb County Department of Public Works," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Bucci also is charged in the indictment with stealing from Macomb County by using county employees and equipment to do personal work for Bucci.
From the U.S. Attorney's Office:
"For example, for years, Bucci forced county employees to plow the snow at Bucci’s residence and at his mother’s residence every time it snowed. When there was a heavy snowfall, Bucci would force county employees to plow the snow for other relatives and friends. Bucci ensured that his home was plowed before county facilities were taken care of by the employees. County employees also did lawn and other maintenance work at Bucci’s home, and one employee was forced to drive Bucci’s child to a school about 25 minutes away. Bucci threatened to dock the pay of county employees, take away overtime opportunities, and send them to undesirable work locations if they refused to do this personal work for him."
Portions of today’s indictment against Bucci charge him with offenses that involve Charles B. Rizzo, Clifford Freitas, Christopher Sorrentino, and Paulin Modi. Each of these men have already pleaded guilty to federal corruption felonies involving Macomb County contracting.
Each of the nine bribery and embezzlement charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Each of the six mail fraud, extortion, and money laundering counts carry a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The three bribery conspiracy counts each carry a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.
View the indictment here: