Garbage Executive and Tow Company Owner Charged with Bribery and Fraud
The former CEO of garbage hauler Rizzo Environmental Services (RES), Charles B. “Chuck” Rizzo, 46, of Bloomfield Hills, was indicted today on five counts of bribery and three counts of conspiracy to commit bribery, in connection with garbage contracts in Clinton, Macomb, and Chesterfield townships, Acting United States Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch announced.
Lemisch was joined in the announcement by David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Manny Muriel, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service.
Also charged with bribery is towing company owner Gasper Fiore, 56, of Grosse Pointe Shores. The superseding indictment charges Fiore and former Clinton Township trustee Dean Reynolds, 50, of Clinton Township, with multiple counts of bribery and conspiring to commit bribery in order to secure a towing contract with Clinton Township sought by Fiore. In March 2016, Fiore paid a $4,000 cash bribe to Reynolds, and then another $3,000 in cash to Reynolds in May 2016. The bribes were paid by Fiore to Reynolds through Charles B. Rizzo.
The superseding indictment also charges Charles B. Rizzo and Fiore, as well as Rizzo’s father, Charles P. Rizzo, 70, of New Baltimore, and Derrick Hicks, 47, of Bloomfield Hills, with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. In addition, Charles P. Rizzo is charged with seven counts of mail and wire fraud, and his son, Charles B. Rizzo, is charged with twelve counts of mail and wire fraud. The fraud charges are based on the defendants’ conspiracy involving at least ten different schemes to steal money from RES between 2013 and 2016, a time when the majority owner of RES was a New York based private equity firm. At the time, Charles B. Rizzo, Charles P. Rizzo, Fiore, Hicks, and others schemed to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from RES using a fake legal settlement agreement, fraudulent consulting deals, cash kickbacks, shell companies, and the stealing of money to pay for part of the construction costs of Charles B. Rizzo’s Bloomfield Township mansion. Charles B. Rizzo and other conspirators then used some of the stolen money to pay bribes to public officials in order to maintain and secure additional municipal garbage contracts. In conducting the embezzlement scheme, Charles B. Rizzo referred to the money embezzled and stolen from RES as “OPM”—“other people’s money.” The indictment contains forfeiture provisions regarding more than $4 million that has thus far been seized by the government in the investigation, as well as seeking the forfeiture of the proceeds of the sale of the Rizzos’ minority interest in RES.
The superseding indictment also adds new bribery charges against Reynolds in connection with another municipality. indictment alleges that Reynolds conspired to commit bribery with former New Haven trustee Brett Harris, 57, of New Haven. According to the indictment, Reynolds introduced Harris to an individual who, unbeknownst to Reynolds and Harris, was an undercover federal agent. Reynolds introduced Harris as a politician willing to take bribes. undercover agent proceeded to pay Harris $9,000 in cash bribes in return for Harris’ promise to help secure a garbage contract with New Haven.
Furthermore, the superseding indictment charges Reynolds with accepting multiple bribes from engineering contractor, Paulin Modi. In this regard, Reynolds took an $8,000 bribe from Modi in 2009 and another $8,000 bribe from Modi in 2013 in connection with securing the engineering contract for Modi for Clinton Township.
Each bribery charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. of the mail and wire fraud counts carry a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The bribery conspiracy counts carry a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.
Acting United States Attorney Lemisch said: “This indictment demonstrates our commitment to bring to justice all participants in bribery schemes, including both the corrupt public officials and the bribe payers seeking to profit from public contracts. Our citizens are entitled to decisions based on the best interests of the public, not the best interests of politicians who accept bribes and bribe-paying contractors.”
"The public understandably is skeptical when public officials and municipal contractors in southeast Michigan conspire with one another to line their own pockets and illegally scheme to obtain advantages over their competitors," said Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios, Detroit Division of the FBI. "Today's indictments reflect the FBI's continued resolve to root out public corruption and to work with honest community leaders to restore the public's trust in their government officials and institutions. Unfortunately, though, corrupt activity such as this continues. Until that is no longer the case, I would urge anyone who has information about this case or other allegations of corruption to call the FBI Public Corruption Task Force at (313) 965-2323."
“Bribery regardless of how you disguise it, is illegal”, stated Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel for IRS Criminal Investigation. “Parties who profit and those who pay the bribe will be charged and held accountable for breaking the law. All Americans have a duty to pay their fair share in taxes. IRS – Criminal investigation helps to ensure that all Americans including public officials and contractors, are held to the same standards.”
This case is part of the government’s wide-ranging corruption investigation centered in Macomb County, Michigan. 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 David A. Gardey and R. Michael Bullotta.
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