Pretrial verdict agreed to in contractor’s case

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published August 27, 2021

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — After over two years of being adjourned, sentencing for Christopher Sorrentino has been further delayed.

On Aug. 18, Sorrentino appeared before U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland at the federal courthouse in Port Huron. He was on the docket to be sentenced.

Instead, the sentencing hearing was adjourned for three months.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. Gardey asked for the delay.

He said that since a July court appearance, the parties have reached a pretrial verdict agreement.

If the case is able to be resolved, the parties would come before the court and file a request to set aside Sorrentino’s conviction and guilty plea.

Sorrentino’s attorney, Arthur Weiss, said he hopes the court will accept the agreement and that his client will comply with the terms.

Cleland said the adjournment request is in the best interest of justice.

In September 2017, then 51 and living in Macomb Township, Sorrentino was federally charged with one felony count of structuring financial transactions to avoid currency-reporting requirements, in relation to cash kickbacks.

A month later, Sorrentino, a contractor, accepted a plea agreement and admitted to paying more than $90,000 in kickbacks to a Macomb Township elected official, later identified as now ex-trustee Dino Bucci.

Sorrentino’s charge carried a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release.

As previously reported, after the work was completed by the other company, Sorrentino received a check for his full bid price and was instructed by the elected official to pay $181,055 to the company that did the work and give the remaining money, around $73,000, back to the official in cash.

Sorrentino’s sentencing has been repeatedly delayed since February 2018.

In May 2020, Bucci pled guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds.

In court that day, as part of the plea agreement, Bucci admitted to a theft scheme by which he and Sorrentino would overbill Macomb Township for paving work on two separate projects. The overbilling came to about $96,000, which Sorrentino paid Bucci in cash. In May 2019, $66,000 was repaid to the township by Bucci.

Sorrentino is now scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 18. Bucci is scheduled to be federally sentenced Sept. 30.