Baton Rouge—The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals today formally notified the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office and the Office of the District Attorney for East Baton Rouge Parish that staff have gathered evidence that leads them to believe a DHH employee has misappropriated public funds intended for the department and used these funds for personal activities.
A DHH investigation detected unusual accounting practices involving an employee. DHH's Bureau of Health Care Integrity conducted an internal investigation, which revealed that the employee allegedly misappropriated more than $800,000 in public funds by depositing checks made payable to DHH into a non-DHH account, then withdrawing funds from that account for personal use.
Upon their investigation, DHH immediately placed the employee on leave and is now taking steps to terminate the employee according to Louisiana Department of State Civil Service guidelines. DHH swiftly enacted measures to prevent similar incidents in the future, enforcing more stringent internal accounting and reporting procedures.
In addition to continuing its internal investigation, DHH today notified the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office and the Office of the District Attorney for East Baton Rouge Parish to conduct an external investigation and prosecute those involved. DHH will also work with the investigating agencies to recover the funds.
"I am outraged that a member of our staff would allegedly willfully misuse public funds that were intended for health care services," said DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "Such an alleged abuse of power is a slap in the face to the other staff members of our department, those we serve and the taxpayers who provide our funds. We will not tolerate any type of criminal behavior, and we will work as needed with both the legislative auditor and the district attorney to aid in any investigation, punish those responsible and prevent this from happening again."