Above: Nicole Latreille
An employee of Orange County, New York was allegedly punished by the county for uncovering massive medicaid fraud in the Satmar hasidic Village of Kiryas Joel, News 12 reported.
Medicaid worker Nicole Latreille claims to have been demoted and transferred after uncovering $40 million in medicaid fraud in Kiryas Joel last year.
Latreille claims to have discovered the fraud about the same time of a county-wide probe into benefits fraud that was notable for its almost complete absence of fraud findings in large hasidic communities like Kiryas Joel.
Latreille says she went to her supervisor with evidence of the Kiryas Joel fraud and the allegations were reported to the FBI.
A county source told News 12 that Latreille was reprimanded and removed from her job because of allegedly prejudiced comments she made that could interfere with the ongoing investigation.
Latreille, who denies that is true, hired noted civil rights attorney Michael Sussman and filed suit against Orange County Social Services commissioners Darcy Miller and Steve Gross.
"She was simply following the evidence that was available, and quite frankly
she should've gotten an award rather than be disciplined," Sussman reportedly said.
The county called Latreille's lawsuit "baseless."
Update 8:53 am CDT – The Times Herald-Record has much more detail on the suit:
…Latreille, a Medicaid examiner in the Department of Social Services, charges that county officials docked her a month's pay, moved her to the Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation and passed her over for promotion to special investigator for the social services office. The complaint, filed last week in U.S. District Court in White Plains, indicates the administration learned of Latreille's contact with the FBI in January and began disciplinary proceedings in April. Social Services Commissioner Darcie Miller and Human Resources Commssioner Steve Gross are named as defendants.
Latreille's attorney, Michael Sussman, said Tuesday that the county has given her a "diminished workload," comparing her transfer to New York City's sidelining of teachers in a "rubber room" while they await disciplinary action. He also said that his client discovered "pervasive" acts of fraud, and that the county soon charged some of the very suspects that Latreille had identified as part of a welfare fraud sweep.
"She should have gotten a reward, not been sent to a rubber room," he said.
The complaint says Latreille was accused of acting "outside the scope of her work responsibilities," and suggests she was punished because her investigation "revealed corruption by persons associated with political allies" of County Executive Steve Neuhaus in Kiryas Joel. It notes that the village's voting blocs supported Neuhaus in the 2013 election.…