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2 Wayne Co. workers charged for allegedly selling $1.7M worth of equipment bought by county

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Posted at 11:05 AM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 18:16:04-04

(WXYZ) — Two Wayne County Roads Division employees have been charged with embezzling over $1.7 million in county funds, according to a federal criminal complaint that was unsealed on Tuesday.

According to the complaint, Kevin Gunn, 64, of West Bloomfield, and John Gibson, 54, of Detroit, are named. Gunn manages the bridge unit of the Wayne County Road Division and has been employed by the county for 34 years. Gibson is a foreman and has been employed for 20 years.

The feds allege that between January 2019 and August 2021, Gunn solicited approved Wayne County vendors to purchase generators and other power equipment on behalf of the county.

The vendors would submit invoices for the items, but Gunn would instruct the vendors to falsify the invoices they submitted to the Roads Division. The Roads Division would then approve and pay each vendor's invoice with taxpayer funds.

The feds then allege that Gibson and Gunn took possession of the equipment and re-sold it over the internet and social media for personal profit.

According to a review, vendors purchased 596 generators and other power equipment including lawnmowers, chainsaws and backpack blowers. Those purchases were not authorized under any vendor contract with the county and were never provided to or used by the county.

“Today’s arrests reinforce our dedication to prosecuting corrupt public officials who elevate their own greed over the best interests of the public who rely on the safe administration and maintenance of public infrastructures like roads," U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison said in a statement.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans released the following statement about the case: "Over the past year my office has been assisting in an ongoing investigation into fraudulent activities discovered by my administration and carried out by a few Wayne County employees and vendors. Upon discovery, we requested assistance from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. I take public corruption very seriously and will pursue every avenue to fully prosecute these employees and vendors. Disciplinary hearings for the two employees arrested this morning are scheduled for this afternoon with their union representatives. Immediate termination is expected based upon the gravity of the offenses. There are no county elected officials or executive appointees implicated in the investigation. As this is an open investigation, I am unable to provide additional details."