Contractor charged in Macomb Township corruption scandal

A contractor who allegedly paid a $66,000 kickback to a Macomb Township elected official is the latest person charged in the sprawling federal investigation into public corruption in Macomb County.

Christopher Sorrentino, 51, of Macomb Township was charged with structuring, a violation of federal law in which an individual makes bank transactions for less than $10,000 to avoid federal reporting requirements. Sorrentino was charged in an information, a way the feds generally use to charge someone with a crime when they have agreed to plead guilty. It is not clear whether Sorrentino is cooperating in the investigation.

The U.S. Attorney's Office did not name the Macomb Township official who alleged took seven checks from Sorrentino totaling $66,000.

According to the feds, in November 2014 a Macomb Township elected official gave Sorrentino a township check for work he did not do, then ordered Sorrentino to pay him $66,000. Sorrentino deposited the check in his account. He then made seven withdrawals of less than $10,000 to avoid triggering a currency transaction report by the bank.

Making transactions like this is a violation of federal law and is called structuring. It is a charge generally related to corruption cases in which payoffs are broken into multiple small payments to avoid detection by the federal government.