Friend of former Ficano aide takes plea deal in corruption probe

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Keith Griffin isn't the biggest fish caught in the feds' net so far but today, he became the first to make a plea deal. 

During a federal court hearing on Thursday Griffin pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud.

In a 7 page criminal complaint, the feds say Keith Griffin conspired to personally enrich himself by defrauding a county contractor for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

According to the feds, Griffin was working in tandem with Michael Grundy, the former head of Wayne County Health Choice, a program that offers local businesses and individuals the opportunity for low cost healthcare.  Grundy was indicted in March.

The scheme, they say, involved Griffin creating a shell advertising company called "Advertise Me."  Federal prosecutors say, the company sent more than $1 million in dummy invoices to Health Choice, but most of that money ended up being kicked back to Griffin and Grundy.   

The feds also say the duo convinced an unnamed company to wire $350,000 to another company that Griffin created.  But the company performed no real work for Health Choice, according to the complaint.

Griffin's plea is the first in the Wayne County corruption probe, triggered following a 7 Action News Investigators report from last September, exposing secret Turkia Mullin's $200,000 severance payment.

Since then, five people have been criminally charged…scores of County Executive Robert Ficano aides have either been fired or resigned, and the county's most powerful politician is facing a growing chorus to resign.

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