Forest Preserve District Files Suit to Recover Taxpayer Money in Employee Theft Case
Last week, two employees and one contractor were charged in DuPage County after attempting to steal funds from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
Attorneys for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County filed a civil action in court last week seeking to recover taxpayer dollars related to former employees attempts to steal more than $100,000.
The complaint for declaratory judgment was filed in DuPage County Circuit Court as DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin announced charges against former Forest Preserve employees Mark McDonald and Dave Tepper as well as Arif Mahmood from the computer vendor company Alamach Technologies, Inc, according to a news release from the forest preserve district. The District had withheld filing the suit at the request of Mr. Berlin to allow his office to complete its investigation.
“We want to make sure we take every step possible to recover every dollar possible for taxpayers,” D. “Dewey” Pierotti Jr., President of the Board of Commissioners said in a news release.
Mark McDonald, 53, of the 1000 block of Childs Street in Wheaton, and David Tepper, 49, of the 300 block of Franklin Avenue in River Forest, worked in the Forest Preserve's IT department. McDonald was the director and Tepper was a manager, according to a press release from the State's Attorney's office. Authorities say the men planned to bilk the forest preserve of about $150,000.
Arif Mahmood, 37, of Glendale Heights, a former contractor with the forest preserve, also faces charges of stealing more than $10,000.
“It is unsettling when a public employee is accused of wrongdoing. I would like to thank the authorities with the Forest Preserve District who, after conducting their own internal investigation, brought this matter to our attention,” DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a news release. “They have been cooperative and helpful throughout this entire investigation.”
Forest Preserve administrators detected suspicious activities related to McDonald, Tepper and Alamach in 2011, promptly hired a computer forensics expert to investigate it, and, once confirmed, immediately turned the information over to law enforcement officials, according to the forest preserve district.
Forest Preserve attorneys are seeking to void the contracts with Alamach Industries and are asking the judge to hold a hearing to determine an amount that could potentially be returned to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
The Forest Preserve District has been working with the State’s Attorney’s office as well as the FBI to assist in the investigation. The FBI was brought in because of its forensic computer expertise.
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