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Former DuPage Forest Preserve Employees Charged with Theft, Official Misconduct

Two former employees planned to bilk the Forest District of about $150,000, according to DuPage State's Attorney.

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.

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 Information Technology 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 District, also faces charges of stealing more than $10,000.

The charges come on the heels of a report last month that the FBI was investigating Forest District contracts. The district that two administrative employees were suspended without pay for "possible misuse of taxpayer funds and/or resources." One of the employees resigned Nov. 7 and the other was terminated Nov. 15.

Authorities say the men planned to bilk the Forest District out 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 District 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 has been 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 has been 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 evening 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, 505 N. County Farm Road, Wheaton, Courtroom 2004.

Police Blotter information is provided by local law enforcement agencies. Charges are not evidence of guilt. They are a record of police actions taken on a given day, and persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. If you or a family member are charged or cited and the case is subsequently adjudicated, we encourage you to notify the editor. We will verify and report the outcome.

SteveforDuPage September 06, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Who signed off on the completed work? Where was the oversight? Why doesn't the procurement policy require the disclosure of subcontractors and owners? It is time to elect commissioners who will bring ethics and transparency to the DuPage Forest Preserve. www.stevefordupage.com
Doremus Jessup September 06, 2012 at 11:57 AM
How about getting rid of these County forest preserve districts and rolling it all into the state park system and get some economies of scale?
mike craven September 07, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Because McDonald was the director he most likely signed off. A case of the fox minding the hen house. A statewide agency would not be less corrupt.
Doremus Jessup September 07, 2012 at 02:02 AM
"A statewide agency would not be less corrupt." Comments like that with no evidence to back it up reminds of that old HBO show Fraggle Rock where the characters get advice from the "Trash Heap" and when it was done giving advice it would say "The Trash Heap has Spoken".
mike craven September 07, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Sorry for not getting into the details I thought were obvious. We've had our last two Governor's sent to prision and members of the staff. A few years back there were problems in the highway department. The list goes on and on. The point is that while in theory, it should be more efficient to have less agencies, there is more opportunity to hide bad behavior In a large agency (or company) The problem is people doing bad things. The solution is just what is happening, justice.

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