Macomb Township Trustee Clifford Freitas faces bribery charges

Macomb Township Trustee Clifford Freitas is charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, including demanding and accepting money in exchange for official acts as a trustee, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Tuesday. 

Freitas was taken into custody Tuesday by FBI agents. 

View: Federal complaint

From U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade's office: 

Freitas’ arrest is another part of an ongoing and long-running investigation into systemic corruption in multiple municipalities in southeast Michigan, primarily Macomb County. The investigation has employed telephone wiretaps, consensual audio and video recordings by cooperative individuals, undercover operations, physical surveillance, telephone tracking warrants, and subpoenas of financial records and other documents.

The complaint charges that Freitas demanded and accepted money from a municipal vendor in exchange for using his official position as a Trustee to get the vendor a municipal contract and to secure favorable terms for the company. In July 2015, Macomb Township put out a request for proposal for a municipal contract. Soon thereafter, Freitas approached a representative of a prospective vendor, and Freitas demanded money in return for Freitas’ support as a Trustee.

Freitas agreed to accept $7,500 from the vendor in return for his assistance in getting the contract. Through his position as a Trustee, Freitas obtained sensitive bid information on the municipal contract in order to help the vendor, telling the vendor what bid was needed to beat out competing contractors. After the vendor was awarded the contract by Macomb Township, Freitas demanded an additional $35,000 from the company representative for his additional assistance as a public official relating to the contract. In May 2016, Freitas accepted $2,000. 

Freitas will be in federal court Tuesday afternoon for his initial appearance, McQuade's office said. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Meanwhile, Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci is being accused of extortion by Gianna Investments LLC. 

Read more: Macomb Township trustee accused of extortion

Local 4's Guy Gordon will have a live report on Local 4 News at 5 p.m.

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