BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, one of their employees has been accused of misappropriating public funds intended for the department, and used these funds for personal activities.
The name of the employee, who has been placed on leave, has not been released.
An investigation into the matter revealed the employee is accused of misappropriating more than $800,000 by depositing checks made payable to DHH into a non-DHH account, then withdrawing funds from that account for personal use.
DHH immediately placed the employee on leave and is now taking steps to terminate the employee.
According to a news release from DHH, "DHH swiftly enacted measures to prevent similar incidents in the future, enforcing more stringent internal accounting and reporting procedures."
DHH 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, DHH leaders said.
"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."
DHH followed the news release with this statement: "DHH cannot release any more information about the incident because it is pending an investigation. We've turned our information over to the proper authorities for them to conduct an external investigation. The employee involved worked for DHH."