Former Macomb County Public Works commissioner Anthony Marrocco sentenced to prison for extortion


Date: March 16, 2023


Former Macomb County commissioner of Public Works Anthony Marrocco was sentenced to three months in prison and fourteen months of home confinement for attempted extortion by withholding county permits from businessmen who refused to contribute to Marrocco's campaign accounts, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced today.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Charles Miller, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Detroit Field Office and James Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Marrocco, of Ray Township, Michigan, was sentenced to prison by United States District Judge Robert H. Cleland at the Port Huron, Michigan Federal Courthouse. Marrocco also placed on supervised release for a period of two years with the first fourteen months to be served under home confinement, without access to the internet, sports, movies, or other entertainment. In addition, Marrocco was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine.

Marrocco served as the commissioner of Public Works from 1993 through 2016. In September 2022, Marrocco pleaded guilty to Count Three of the Indictment charging him with attempted extortion of a Macomb County developer in April 2016. Marrocco admitted that he pressured the developer to spend thousands of dollars to purchase tickets to one of Marrocco's fundraisers. Marrocco threatened to delay or withhold approval of county permits sought by the developer if he did not purchase additional tickets to Marrocco's political fundraiser.

The extortion conviction of Marrocco is the final and most significant development in federal law enforcement's years-long effort to aggressively investigate and prosecute corruption in Macomb County. Thus far in this effort, some twenty-two public officials and bribe-paying businessmen have been charged and convicted in connection with the Macomb County corruption probe, including three defendants convicted after jury trials, as well as the conviction and imprisonment of elected Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith.

The Macomb County investigation centered on corruption in suburban Detroit communities and in the City of Detroit in garbage-hauling, towing, and engineering contracts involving tens of millions of dollars. The investigation revealed that for years the owners of garbage-hauling, towing, and engineering companies were bribing elected public officials and police officers in order to secure lucrative contracts. Targets convicted in the prosecution included Chuck Rizzo, the CEO and multi-millionaire owner of one of the largest garbage-hauling companies in Michigan, Gasper Fiore, the CEO and multi-millionaire owner of the largest towing company in Michigan, and a Fazal Khan, the millionaire owner of an engineering consulting services firm. The investigation also uncovered significant wire fraud and embezzlement schemes whereby Rizzo and his father were stealing millions from company investors and the engineering partner was stealing a million dollars from his fellow partners. The investigation resulted in the conviction of nine public officials, including Detroit's Deputy Chief of Police, eight elected officials, and the former Chief Engineer of Macomb County, Michigan. In total, the prosecution resulted in twenty-two criminal convictions of bribe payers and public officials. Significant events in the course of the investigation included (1) the conviction at trial in June 2018 of Clinton Township Trustee Dean Reynolds, for four bribery conspiracies and ten counts of bribery, involving the corruption of over $30 million worth of township contracts; (2) the 2021 conviction of elected and long-time Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith for obstruction of justice in connection with his embezzlement from his own campaign fund; and (3) the 2022 conviction of Marrocco for extortion.

United States Attorney Ison said, "Marrocco had exercised unchecked power over people just trying to do business in Macomb County. Although we are disappointed in the length of the Court's sentence, through Marrocco's conviction for extortion, he will no longer be able to demand obedience and respect from the district's citizens."

"Today, Mr. Marrocco has been held responsible for his part in a pervasive pattern of corruption and illegal practices by public officials in Macomb County," said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. "Public corruption is the FBI's number one criminal investigative priority because a lack of faith in government undermines our institutions, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to address this issue until honest and responsible government is the order of the day in Macomb County and throughout the State of Michigan."

"Public officials, whether elected or appointed, hold positions of trust in the eyes of the public. Today's sentence sends a clear message that when public officials commit crimes, they will be held accountable for that broken trust," said Charles Miller, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Detroit Field Office. "IRS-CI will continue to provide financial investigative expertise, as we work with our law enforcement partners to enforce the law and ensure public trust."

The investigation in this case was conducted by Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Cares and Robert Moran.