The first of three men charged in a contract-rigging scandal at the DuPage County Forest Preserve District pleaded not guilty Monday, and his attorney said he plans to fight the charges.
Arif Mahmood, 37, of Glendale Heights, was indicted earlier this month on 37 felony counts, including conspiracy, theft and accepting kickbacks. He was arraigned before DuPage County Judge Blanche Hill Fawell.
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Defense attorney Tim Martin said evidence would show Mahmood is innocent in the scandal, which officials said cost the district more than $150,000 over a six-year period.
"He was a legitimate independent contractor for the forest preserve, and all work invoices paid by the county were legitimate, justified contracts," Martin said outside of court.
Mahmood is accused of participating in one of two schemes involving the district's former Information Technology Director Mark McDonald and IT department head David Tepper, who also face charges.
Prosecutors said Mahmood was owner of the now-defunct Alamach Technology Inc. when it overbilled the district for contracted work and subcontracted with another company, Integrated Design Solutions, set up by McDonald and Tepper.
Altogether, Mahmood is accused of stealing more than $10,000 from the district, which paid his company at least $488,000 between 2009 and 2010, according to public records. The scheme netted McDonald and Tepper more than $64,000 in kickbacks, prosecutors said.
McDonald, 52, of Wheaton, and Tepper, 49, of River Forest, also are accused of billing the district for more than $90,000 in equipment and services that were never delivered on behalf of their company.
A grand jury this month indicted the men on 140 counts each of conspiracy, theft, accepting kickbacks and official misconduct. They're scheduled for arraignment Tuesday.