An Indictment unsealed today charges former Macomb County Department of Public Works (DPW) Commissioner Anthony Marrocco, 71, of Ray Township, Michigan, with conspiracy to commit extortion in a scheme spanning over two decades, from 1994 through 2016, United States Attorney Matthew Schneider announced. The Indictment also charges Marrocco with two counts of extortion and one count of attempted extortion. This new Indictment is another key part of federal law enforcement’s effort to root out corruption in suburban Detroit communities.
According to the Indictment, during the course of the conspiracy, it is alleged that Marrocco directed his DPW underling Dino Bucci and others at DPW to pressure builders and contractors in Macomb County to purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars in tickets to Marrocco’s twice-yearly fundraisers. Marrocco allegedly kept lists of those who purchased these expensive tickets and those who did not. Marrocco would allegedly inflict economic punishment on those who did not purchase tickets by holding up permits for builders, delaying payments owed to DPW vendors, and refusing to award DPW contracts to engineering firms, among other punishments. The indictment further alleges that builders and contractors bought thousands of dollars in tickets because they feared that Marrocco would economically punish them. The indictment alleges that Marrocco used some of the monies he extorted from the victims to pay for personal expenses, including air travel, car rentals, dinners at high-end restaurants, condo association charges, spa visits, wedding and holiday gifts, and yacht club charges.
The indictment of Marrocco is a significant development in federal law enforcement’s years-long effort to aggressively investigate and prosecute corruption in suburban Detroit. Thus far in this effort, some twenty-two public officials and bribe-paying businessmen have been charged and convicted, including two defendants convicted after jury trials.
Schneider was joined in the announcement by Steven D’Antuono, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Sarah L. Kull, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigations.
United States Attorney Schneider said: “For far too long, due to Commissioner Marrocco’s unchecked power over builders and contractors in Macomb County, business owners were forced to pay homage to the Commissioner by purchasing expensive fundraising tickets for the sole benefit of the Commissioner. The two decades of alleged extortion by Mr. Marrocco show an obscene abuse of power and a grave betrayal of the trust of the citizens of Macomb County. The fact that he is now facing four 20-year felonies is well-deserved and a consequence that was long overdue. The investigation is a testament to the unwavering dedication of the agents of the FBI and IRS and my office’s resolve to rid the Eastern District of Michigan of pay-to-play government.”
“Public corruption is the FBI’s number one criminal investigative priority because a lack of faith in elected government undermines our institutions,” said Steven M. D’Antuono, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to dedicate resources to this issue until the public’s trust in elected officials is restored, and honest and responsible government is the order of the day in Macomb County and throughout the State of Michigan.
IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Sarah Kull stated, “Identifying and stopping public corruption remains one of the IRS-CI’s highest priorities. Today’s indictment underscores our commitment to work in a collaborative effort with our law enforcement partners to promote honest and ethical government at all levels and to prosecute those who allegedly violated the public’s trust.”
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys R. Michael Bullotta and Steven Cares.
An indictment is only a charging document and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
For each of the four counts of the Indictment, Marrocco faces up to twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine.