Former state employee charged in $200,000 Medicaid kickback scheme

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News
Attorney General Dana Nessel answers questions from reporters during a press conference Feb. 21 in Lansing.

Attorney General Dana Nessel has charged a former state employee in a Medicaid kickback scheme that allowed the employee allegedly to pocket nearly $200,000.

Eliza Yulonda Ijames was arraigned in an East Lansing district court Thursday on a felony charge of Medicaid fraud-conspiracy and two felony counts of Medicaid fraud-kickbacks.

The 56-year-old Detroit woman is alleged to have received kickbacks from agencies to which she had referred Medicaid beneficiaries while working at the Wayne County Adult Services office as a an independent living services specialist. Ijames' duties included approving home help services for patients of Medicaid, the health care coverage program for mostly low-income residents. 

The agencies to which Ijames referred patients later deposited the money into bank accounts linked to Ijames, Nessel said in a statement.

Ijames withdrew about $200,000 from the accounts between January 2015 and December 2017, the statement said.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General discovered the discrepancy and referred the case to the Attorney General’s office, according to the statement. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

"Public employees who betray the trust placed in them are particularly disappointing and do not represent the tens of thousands of dedicated people who work to make Michigan better every day," Nessel said.

Ijames was given a $10,000 personal recognizance bond and is scheduled to appear before District Judge Richard Ball on March 8.

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