FORMER CONTROLLER OF THE CITY OF ECORSE
SENTENCED ON BRIBERY CHARGES
Erwin Hollenquest, 63, of West Bloomfield, Michigan was sentenced today to 12 months and one day in federal prison after having been found guilty on January 21, 2011 by a federal jury in Detroit on bribery charges related to the federal investigation into corruption in the City of Ecorse, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today. In addition, United States District Judge Avern Cohn ordered Hollenquest to pay restitution to the City of Ecorse in the amount of $50,000.
U.S. Attorney McQuade was joined in the announcement by Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The evidence presented at trial established that in November of 2007 Hollenquest, while Controller of the City of Ecorse, solicited and accepted a bribe in exchange for public works contracts with Michigan Municipal Services, LLC, a company owned and operated by Sheldon Divers and Stacey Tarockoff. Specifically, Hollenquest accepted a Lexus automobile in return for using his official position to assist Michigan Municipal Services in getting the city’s business and in getting paid on its invoices, which contained hundreds of thousands of dollars in false and fraudulent charges over the period from November, 2007 through December, 2008. During that time Michigan Municipal Services billed the City of Ecorse for more than $3.1 million.
United States Attorney McQuade stated, "I hope all public officials are paying attention to this case and see that public officials who abuse the public trust are held accountable," McQuade said. "Our citizens deserve honest government, and we will work hard to prosecute anyone who betrays that responsibility."
Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena stated, "Public corruption is a top criminal priority of the FBI and will not be tolerated. This investigation demonstrates the FBI's commitment in investigating public corruption and brings those who betray the public's trust to justice."
Sheldon Divers and Stacey Tarockoff both cooperated in the investigation and pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy and were sentenced to 24 months’ in prison and 2 months in prison, respectively, along with $50,000 in restitution. Herbert Worthy, the former Mayor of the City of Ecorse, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
This case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sheldon N. Light.