Attorney General probing Ficano administation for possible Medicaid fraud

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The FBI has been probing the county's mental health department for months. Now, the state attorney general's office is starting its own investigation and it's looking for evidence of Medicaid fraud.  

A letter sent last Friday demands specific records from the Wayne County Community Mental Health Authority.  

It comes after allegations that County Executive Robert Ficano diverted restricted Medicaid dollars to pay for county employees that worked for him. 

The county has 30 days give the AG scores of records, including:

-Lists of all mental health employees and their job descriptions

-All bank accounts associated with the mental health authority

-All memos regarding employees being paid with mental health funds, that weren't doing mental health work.  

This isn't the first time Ficano's been accused of taking restricted dollars and using them for his own sizeable staff.  The county's former Department of Public Services director told 7 Action News last year that his department used restricted roads dollars to pay for Ficano appointees who never worked on roads.

"The question was asked, what are these people doing on our budget?  The answer was, well that's where we need to put them," Jackson told 7 Action News last year.

And we were first to report last August that Ficano often paid his own appointees with other department's funds. 

This 2008 memo written by a department of environment official complained that Ficano's then-press secretary and assistant were being paid out of his budget.  The cost was more than $100,000.

In an e-mail, Deputy Director Butler Benton wrote: "I did not sign the approval to pay (them), nor will I."

If you have a tip for the 7 Action News Investigative Team, contact us at tips@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.

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