Former Macomb County Public Works commissioner Anthony Marrocco pleads guilty to extortion


Date: September 20, 2022


DETROIT — Former Macomb County commissioner of Public Works Anthony Marrocco pleaded guilty to 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 Sarah L. Kull, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigation and James Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Marrocco, of Ray Township, Michigan, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Robert H. Cleland at the Port Huron, Michigan Federal Courthouse.

According to the plea agreement, Marrocco served as the commissioner of Public Works from 1993 through 2016. 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 suburban Detroit, and Macomb County in particular. Thus far in this effort, some twenty-three public officials and bribe-paying businessmen have been charged and convicted in connection with the Macomb County corruption probe, including two defendants convicted after jury trials, as well as the conviction and imprisonment of elected Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith.

United States Attorney Ison said: "The conviction of Marrocco for extortion sends a clear signal that public officials cannot use their governmental power to coerce individuals to contribute to their political campaigns. This conviction symbolizes our years-long crackdown on corruption in Macomb County that has helped to further the rule of law and good government for the county's citizens."

"Public officials, whether elected or appointed, hold positions of trust in the eyes of the public and that trust is broken when these officials commit crimes," said Special Agent in Charge Sarah Kull, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Detroit Field Office. "If you commit a crime, status as a political leader will not protect you from federal prosecution."

This investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service -Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Detroit Area Corruption Task Force. The Detroit Area Corruption Task Force member agencies include the FBI, State of Michigan Attorney General's Office, Michigan State Police, Detroit Police Department, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol-Office of Professional Responsibility, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Cares and Robert Moran.