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DuPage Forest District Files Civil Action to Recover Taxpayer Dollars

Attorneys move quickly to try to recover stolen money.

Attorneys for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County filed a civil action lawsuit in court today, Thursday, Sept. 6, that seeks to recover as much taxpayer money as possible related to alleged crimes by former employees and a former vendor, according to a press release from the forest preserve.
 
The complaint for declaratory judgment was filed in DuPage County Circuit Court. DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin on Wednesday , Mark McDonald and Dave Tepper, and Arif Mahmood from the computer vendor company Alamach Technologies, Inc.

Authorities say the men planned to bilk the forest preserve of about $150,000. In their 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 a release from the DuPage County State's Attorney.

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 asked the Forest District to wait to file in court until his office completed its investigation, according to the release from the Forest District.

Dewey Pierotti Jr., president of the Forest District Board, said in a statement, “We want to make sure we take every step possible to recover every dollar possible for taxpayers."

Forest Preserve administrators first detected suspicious activity with McDonald, Tepper and Alamach in 2011 and hired a computer forensics expert to investigate, according to the release.

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 potentially could be returned to the district and taxpayers, according to the release.
 
Since turning the matter over to the State’s Attorney in late 2011, the Forest Preserve District has been working with the State’s Attorney’s office to assist in the investigation. The FBI was brought in because of its forensic computer expertise. No charges have been brought against the District or any remaining elected officials or employees.

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