(WJBK) - The father of a key figure in the Macomb County public corruption case was in federal court and he pleaded guilty to a fraud charge.
But when it came time to admit he broke the law, Chuck Rizzo, Sr. had trouble saying what he did. Plea deals are pretty simple as prosecutors drop most of the charges if you agree to plead guilty. The hitch is you have to plead guilty to something.
Chuck Rizzo Sr. emerged from federal court in Port Huron with his lawyer leading the way.
FOX 2: "Mr. Rizzo you just pled guilty, but your lawyer says you didn't do anything wrong. Why did you plead? Counselor, can you speak to that?"
Neither Rizzo nor his lawyer would answer the question. But in the courthouse, Rizzo's lawyer argued that his client did not profit from a scheme Chuck Rizzo Jr. worked out last year.
Rizzo Jr. arranged to have trucks and dumpsters sold to Rizzo Environmental Services at an inflated price, and then sold to another Rizzo controlled company at a lower price. The hustle netted the Rizzos thousands of dollars in profits.
Both Rizzos pleaded guilty to lesser charges and junior agreed to cooperate with the feds. But Rizzo senior claims he never profited from the deal.
Nevertheless, with the judge's help, he eventually admitted that he was a part of the scheme to cheat one Rizzo company to benefit another.
The feds say the reason Rizzo Jr. devised this scheme is because his family owned about 15 percent of the Rizzo company that overpaid for the equipment, reselling it at a lower price to another Rizzo company was a way to line his pockets. Rizzo Sr. claims he didn't know anything about the deal until the feds began investigating his son.