August 23, 2012 at 10:27 am

Feds add money laundering to charges against ex-Ficano aide Grundy

Michael Grundy (U.S. Marshal Service)

Detroit — A grand jury filed seven new charges against Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano's fired political lieutenant Wednesday, the latest allegations in a widening corruption probe of county government.

The new indictment adds more pressure on Michael Grundy, an assistant executive who months ago was seen as a rising star in Ficano's administration. The charges — one count of conspiracy to launder money and six counts of laundering money — involve Grundy's close friend Keith Griffin, who pleaded guilty to his role in the corruption probe in May and agreed to cooperate with investigators.

"It's no secret my client has agreed to be truthful, and I think he's been very truthful and forthcoming," Griffin lawyer Leon Weiss said. "Everybody has to face their own set of consequences."

The conspiracy charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. The money laundering charges are 10-year felonies.

Grundy's lawyer William Swor declined comment Wednesday but has said Grundy unequivocally denies the allegations.

Grundy, 40, initially was hit with a 25-count indictment in March that accused him of shaking down contractors for kickbacks.

The indictment alleged Grundy "enriched himself" as executive director of Wayne County HealthChoice, a health insurance program for the needy, to dole out $1.8 million contracts to a childhood friend.

The roughly year-long probe of Wayne County government has yielded guilty pleas from two former county officials and one contractor.

"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," said Ficano spokeswoman June West.

Grundy was fired Nov. 7 after The Detroit News reported a contractor told the FBI he pressured her to make regular payments to Griffin's companies.

The new indictment alleges Grundy and Griffin conspired to launder money from April 2009 through October 2011.

The indictment also alleges Griffin transferred more than $140,000 in criminal proceeds from two companies tied to Griffin into another Griffin company.

From July 2009 through October 2011, Grundy allegedly tapped one of the bank accounts hundreds of times, including at ATMs, and withdrew more than $100,000.

Grundy spent the cash at ABC Warehouse, Costco and CVS, according to the indictment.

rsnell@detnews.com

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