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Contractor from Howell bound over for trial on fraud charges

A contractor from Livingston County has been bound over for trial after being charged by state authorities with fraud for work he did in the City of Detroit.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced in April Criminal Enterprise and False Pretense charges had been filed against David Scott MacDonald, 50, of Howell.

MacDonald is accused of fraudulently billing the City over $1 million for backfill dirt used at demolished properties that he obtained at no cost and from contaminated sources.

According to a press release from Nessel’s office, the investigation was completed by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), which is a federal agency tasked with preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse in the federal funds appropriated by Congress through the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. 

In 2017, MacDonald was employed by the Den-Man company to lead the company’s demolition program. His responsibilities included finding backfill for all the demolition sites for which Den-Man was contracted by the City of Detroit to handle. The contract made Den-Man responsible for backfilling the sites of demolished properties with dirt from approved sources, and the company was entitled to bill the city for the acquisition price of that dirt.

Officials say MacDonald repeatedly claimed to have paid for dirt used at these sites he had obtained at no cost, lied about the source of the dirt, and billed the Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA) for fictitious sums. Den-Man allegedly received $1,148,513.61 for reimbursement for backfill material without actually incurring those costs, while the unapproved source of backfill material is considered environmentally contaminated. 

MacDonald, who is charged with Conducting a Criminal Enterprise and 11 counts of False Pretenses, is alleged to have knowingly obtained backfill material from an unapproved source that did not comply with the terms of the contract or the requirements of the State of Michigan. Officials say those sites now must be tested for their environmental quality.    

DLBA has agreed to repay $1 million due to monitoring issues in the program.

MacDonald will be arraigned June 7th in Wayne County Circuit Court.

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