The former head of a Michigan contractor’s demolition business is facing criminal charges over accusations that he used contaminated backfill for federally funded demolition projects in Detroit and then billed the city $1.1 million for the contaminated material he had obtained for free.

David MacDonald is charged with conducting a criminal enterprise and 11 counts of false presences, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced April 25. MacDonald worked for Den-Man Contractors Inc. of Warren, Mich., in 2017, when the company was contracted by the City of Detroit for work on projects demolishing properties.

Under the terms of the contract, Den-Man was responsible for backfilling the sites with material from approved sources. Prosecutors say MacDonald repeatedly lied about the dirt’s source and lied about paying for it. Officials did not specify the dirt’s source or the manner of its contamination, though records indicate testing revealed the presence of arsenic, chromium and mercury at some of the properties in levels exceeding the Michigan Dept. of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s generic residential cleanup criteria.

“These crimes, a scam against the people of Detroit and abuse of public funds, amount to public harm for private greed,” Nessel said in a statement.

MacDonald could not immediately be reached and an attorney who has represented him in a related legal issue did not immediately respond to inquiries. Court records indicate he left Den-Man in 2018. MacDonald previously filed a federal lawsuit against Detroit because his employer after Den-Man was issued a stop-work order for demolition work, which came after the demolition of a home without proper asbestos abatement, which MacDonald claimed had been incorrectly blamed on him. That case has been dismissed.

The demolition projects were part of a Detroit Land Bank Authority initiative that was funded by the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which Congress created in 2008 in response to the Great Recession. Federal officials say Detroit received about $258 million in TARP funds to demolish more than 15,000 blighted properties and undergo neighborhood improvement projects. Earlier this year, DLBA agreed to repay the U.S. government about $1.5 million to resolve a False Claims Act case with allegations related to unsubstantiated backfill costs paid to demolition contractors, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for eastern Michigan.

The investigation into MacDonald was conducted by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which is tasked with tracking down fraudulent use of TARP funds. Melissa Bruce, principal deputy inspector general with the office, said in a statement that the “requirements by contractors to use safe and approved backfill materials and substantiate backfill costs are critical to ensuring TARP funds are properly spent for the public’s safety and program requirements in Detroit.”

Last June, the Detroit government ordered Den-Man to remove and replace fill used at seven sites and test 127 other sites. As of January, testing was still pending for 65 sites, records show. The company did not immediately respond to inquiries.