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Three charged in theft and kick-back scheme at Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

September 10, 2012 at 06:43 AM

Downers Grove Reporter

Downers Grove, IL — Two employees of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and one contractor have been charged with felonies for two schemes that netted more than $150,000.

The DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office said that Mark McDonald, 53, of Wheaton and David Tipper, 49, of River Forest have been charged with one count each of felony theft, official misconduct and accepting kickbacks while employed by the district.

McDonald served in the Information Technology Department, and Tepper was employed as a manager.

In one scheme that allegedly took place from July 2005 to November 2011, Tepper and McDonald billed the Forest Preserve District for $90,000 in services and goods that were never delivered.

In a second scheme, Arif Mahmood, 37, of Glendale Heights allegedly overbilled the Forest Preserve District through a company called Allamach Technologies. That scheme allegedly netted MCDonald and Tepper more than $64,000.

Mahmood was charged with single felony counts of theft and kickbacks.

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The environment for fraudulent activity was encouraged by the DuPage Forest Preserve’s procurement policy, established nearly a quarter century ago in 1988. The policy does not require the disclosure of subcontractors or the disclosure of owners during the bid process, as required by most other agencies throughout the State. There is no provision to disclose a conflict of interest and professional service contracts are not mentioned in the policy. The District rarely solicits requests for proposals for professional services, opening the door for fraudulent activity with insiders steering contracts to companies like Alamach and their undisclosed subcontractors. The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County does not have an ethics committee.

It shouldn’t take an FBI investigation to inspire commissioners to lead on these issues. It’s time to update the procurement policy, organize an ethics committee, and have elected leaders who will protect our tax dollars.

Posted by SteveForDuPage on 09/10 at 05:30 PM

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