News and Press Releases

LOCAL BUSINESSMEN SENTENCED
IN ECORSE CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2011

The two co-owners of the business Michigan Municipal Services, LLC were sentenced yesterday and today for their roles in bribery, fraud, and related criminal offenses in the City of Ecorse, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.

United States Attorney McQuade was joined in the announcement by Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit, Michigan Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Stacy Tarockoff, age 47, of Commerce Township, Michigan and Sheldon L. Divers, age 39, of Detroit, Michigan were sentenced in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan before Judge Avern Cohn. Tarockoff was sentenced to 60 days imprisonment followed by three years supervised release and ordered to pay restitution to the City of Ecorse in the amount of $50,000. Divers was sentenced to 24 months in prison followed by three years supervised release and also order to pay $50,000 in restitution.

"It is just as important to prosecute those who pay the bribes as those who take the bribes when the evidence supports that result because they all poison the system," United States Attorney McQuade said.

The sentences arose from felony convictions for Tarockoff’s and Divers’s involvement in a scheme to pay tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to Ecorse Mayor Herbert Worthy in connection with a public works contract between the City of Ecorse and Michigan Municipal Services (“MMS”), a company owned and operated by Tarockoff and Divers. Bribes were also paid to City Controller Erwin Hollenquest in connection with the MMS contract. That public works contract was worth more than $3 million to MMS.

According to information presented to the court at the time of these defendants’ guilty pleas, between November of 2007 and December of 2008, Divers arranged for multiple cash payments to be made to Mayor Herbert Worthy. In all, Divers and Tarockoff delivered and agreed to deliver more than $65,000.00 in cash to Mayor Worthy. The money was paid to Herbert Worthy to ensure that Mr. Worthy would use his position as Mayor to approve payment of invoices submitted by MMS to the City of Ecorse. Bribes were also paid to Controller Erwin Hollenquest to ensure his approval of MMS invoices. During that time period, MMS presented numerous invoices to the City of Ecorse which were falsely and fraudulently inflated and included charges for services that had not, in fact, been provided to the City of Ecorse.

Herbert Worthy was previously sentenced by Judge Cohn to18 months imprisonment in this case. The one remaining defendant in this case, Erwin Hollenquest, was convicted of one count of bribery following a jury trial in January, 2011, and is awaiting sentence.

This case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheldon N. Light.

 

 

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