Former Fremont City Manager Convicted of Felony Fraud; DA Price Charges Former Administration ‘Undercharged’ Case  

A gavel on a stack of $100 bills on a table

A gavel on a stack of $100 bills on a table

By Emeline Crowder 

OAKLAND, CA – Former Fremont City Manager Mark Danaj pleaded guilty to felony fraud against the City of Fremont, announced by Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price last week.

According to DA Price’s office, Danaj’s plea agreement requires him to serve 90 days in jail, two years on formal probation, and to pay $316,978 in restitution.

DA Price’s office noted the case began in 2021, when Danaj was fired from his position as City Manager. Despite owing $6,873 to the City, which he accrued through the misuse of its CalCard, Danaj failed to inform officials when he was negotiating his severance.

“(I)t was only after receiving the $316,617 severance package that Danaj informed officials that he owed $6,873 on the credit card,” stated the DA’s Office, adding, Danaj’s failure to disclose the debt to the city during his negotiations is “considered theft by false pretense, as it was Danaj’s duty as City Manager to disclose the debt.”

In his plea agreement, as detailed by the DA Office in a statement, Danaj admitted he owed $316,977.74 in restitution to the City of Fremont, which consists of “$360.74 of CalCard charges for Danaj’s personal expenses and the $316,617 severance.”

According to DA Price, before her administration took over in January 2023, the case was being “undercharged,” and the former district attorney “had filed felony charges against Mr. Danaj for his misuse and embezzlement of public funds. However, it was still unclear why the City of Fremont had paid Mr. Danaj a severance valued over $300,000 at the time of his termination in September 2021.”

DA Price added that “the City had only agreed to pay Mr. Danaj the severance because Mr. Danaj had committed fraud.”

In a press statement, DA Price charged Danaj was represented by her predecessor’s brother, which was an “obvious conflict of interest,” adding had her administration not taken over the case, “Mr. Danaj would not have been convicted of defrauding the City of Fremont, and the public’s valid questions about Mr. Danaj’s severance would never (have been) answered.”

According to District Attorney Price, “This resolution brings accountability and closure to the citizens of the City of Fremont, which has long been overdue.”

About The Author

Emeline is a third year undergraduate at UC Davis, studying International Relations and French. She is passionate about law, the criminal justice system and international politics, and hopes to pursue a career in diplomacy in the future. In her free time, Emeline loves to read, craft and hike.

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