DETROIT (WXYZ) - A federal grand jury has indicted a former aide to Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano on 7 more charges – this time they’ve added money laundering to a laundry list of alleged crimes.
Former Assistant Wayne County Executive Michael Demetrius Grundy used to be a trusted aide of Ficano – and very involved in the Ficano political machine.
Now Grundy is facing 32 federal charges – accused of receiving kickbacks, extortion, obstruction of justice -- and 7 new money laundering charges.
He was first indicted last March. Federal prosecutors say Grundy used his position as Executive Director of Wayne County’s HealthChoice program, which provides low cost health care to companies and residents.
7 Action News first reported last year that the CEO of ProCare Plus had told the feds that she was pressured to provide thousands of dollars in kickbacks to Grundy.
According to the indictment, Grundy conspired with his long-time friend Keith Griffin to set up a company that invoiced Wayne County for more than $1 Million.
Griffin took a plea deal and agreed to testify in the ongoing federal probe into Wayne County Corruption, that was first exposed by the 7 Action News Investigators.
Griffin’s testimony may have lead to these 7 new charges unsealed today in federal court. The indictment alleges that Grundy and Griffin worked together to transfer “criminal proceeds” into bank accounts, which Grundy later withdrew in cash.
The feds allege Grundy withdrew $50,000 in cash from one ATM in Detroit, and $30,000 in cash from another ATM. It’s also alleged he used the money that was intended to help low-income people in Wayne County at places like ABC Warehouse, Costco, and CVS.
According to the indictment, Grundy also illegally purchased six different cashier’s checks, totaling 109,000.
When Grundy was arraigned in March, this is what his lawyer had to say about the initial charges:
“We intend to defend Mr. Grundy, we intend to oppose the charges, we believe that he has not done anything wrong, and we will fight for him,” said Bill Swor.
Grundy was fired last fall after it was clear that the FBI was investigating him, and Ficano has worked hard to distance himself from Grundy. Today, the county executive’s spokesperson released this statement about the new charges:
“The U.S. Attorney has moved this case one step closer to bringing accountability and justice to an individual who abused the public’s trust. We have cooperated every step of the way in the federal investigation and will continue to do so.”
Today's indictment ratchets up the pressure on Grundy, who has so far not cooperated with the feds ongoing probe into the county. Griffin pled guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud. In July, the county's former technology director Tahir Kazmi pled guilty to accepting $70,000 in bribes.
The FBI's investigation into Wayne County was sparked by a 7 Action News Investigation that revealed the county's former economic development director received a $200,000 severance payment for voluntarily leaving the county.
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