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Former DuPage County Forest Preserve Employees Charged with Theft, Official Misconduct

Two former DuPage County Forest Preserve District employees are charged with plans to bilk a government entity of more than $100,000.

Two former DuPage Forest Preserve District employees face charges of stealing more than $100,000 from a government entity with two "elaborate" schemes over a six-year period, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin announced Wednesday. A third man, a contractor, also faces charges for stealing.

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.

Arif Mahmood, 37, of Glendale Heights, a former contractor with the forest preserve, also faces charges of stealing more than $10,000.

Authorities say the men planned to bilk the forest preserve of about $150,000. In the first plan, involving McDonald's and Tepper's company Integrated Design Solutions, the two former employees billed and received more than $90,000 from the forest preserve for equipment and services that were never delivered from July 20, 2005 to November 7, 2011, according to the release.

In the second scheme, officials say Mahmood acted as an employee of Alamach Technology Inc., and overbilled the forest preserve for contracted work from February 25, 2010 through November 7, 2011. He then subcontracted with Integrated Design Solutions in the amount overbilled for services that were never rendered, netting McDonald and Tepper more than $64,000 in kickbacks, according to the release.

Berlin said in the statement that the three men "took advantage of the public trust and lined their own pockets at taxpayers' expense."

He added the charges against the men are in no way indicative of the forest preserve as a whole. "It is unsettling when a public employee is accused of wrongdoing," he said.

He said after an internal investigation, authorities with the forest preserve alerted the State's Attorney's office. He also thanked the FBI and DuPage County investigators.

McDonald and Tepper are charged with one count of theft, a Class X felony, one count of illegal participation, a Class 3 felony, one count of official misconduct, a Class 3 felony and one county of kickbacks, a Class 3 felony.

Mahmood is charged with one count of theft, a Class 1 felony, and one count of kickbacks, a Class 3 felony.

Tepper was released after posting $30,000 of his $300,000 bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 1 in front of Judge Robert Kleeman.

Mahmood was released after posting $20,000 of his $200,000 bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 1 in front of Judge Kathryn Creswell.

McDonald was taken into custody Wednesday night and is currently being held in the DuPage County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in Bond Court at 8 a.m. Thursday at the DuPage County Courthouse.

Written by Local Editor Charlotte Eriksen

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