Schuette, Corrigan Announce Fraud Charge Against
Ex-City of Detroit DHS Social Worker
March 7, 2012
Bill Schuette, Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura D. Corrigan
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector
General, Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III,
today announced that the Attorney General's Public Integrity Unit
has charged a former City of Detroit employee with one felony count of fraud.
The charge resulted from an investigation by the recently
announced multi-agency Southeast Michigan Public Corruption Task Force that
revealed a former City of Detroit principal social worker abused her authority
as a city employee to fraudulently obtain approximately $18,000 in federal
Community Services Block Grant benefits offered under the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act for which she was ineligible. Investigation began after a
referral by the City of Detroit Finance Department to the Michigan Department of
Human Services, Office of Inspector General.
"Michigan citizens have zero tolerance for public officials who
abuse their authority to enrich themselves at the taxpayers' expense," said
Schuette. "We will continue to work with local, state and federal authorities
to restore public integrity to every level of government."
"Those who game the system will be found out, arrested and
prosecuted. It's even worse when a public servant has breached the trust of the
people, the department she serves, and some of our State's neediest citizens,"
Corrigan said. "The DHS Office of Inspector General and its head, Al Kimichik,
will relentlessly and vigorously pursue all cases involving fraud and abuse of
the welfare system."
federal grant recipients are entrusted to act as good stewards of federal funds
and must ensure that grant dollars are used for their intended purpose," said
Pugh. "Using federal grant monies for personal gain is theft and the U.S.
Department of Health & Human Services ? OIG will continue to work with state and
local officials to protect valuable taxpayer dollars."
Nellie Lavern Jenkins-Kendrick, 47, of Detroit, allegedly
submitted a falsified application for Community Services Block Grant benefits to
the City of Detroit Department of Human Services while employed there as the
principal social worker. Jenkins-Kendrick allegedly reported her family income
to be more than $10,000 lower than her actual income, in order to receive
various types of Community Services Block Grant benefits. Jenkins-Kendrick
allegedly filed her application with a City employee who was her subordinate and
then allegedly ignored City procedures requiring subsequent approval by a
After the application was entered, Jenkins-Kendrick allegedly
abused her authority by approving her own application and proceeding to
authorize a total of $18,199.15 in payments to program vendors to enrich
for furniture (approximately $5,000 more than the average amount granted for
furniture purchases through Detroit DHS programs);
toward the purchase of a 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo;
for home electrical repairs;
for a high-end washer and dryer; and
fund summer camp for her child.
Jenkins-Kendrick was arrested today by law enforcement from the
multi-agency Southeast Michigan Public Corruption Task Force. Schuette charged
Jenkins-Kendrick with one count of False Pretenses ($1,000-$20,000), a felony
punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Jenkins-Kendrick
is expected to be arraigned in Wayne County's 36th District Court.
Jenkins-Kendrick's employment with the City of Detroit Department of Human
Services was terminated August 27, 2011.
On January 4, 2011, Attorney General Schuette created a new
Public Integrity Unit (PIU) in the Attorney General's office to ratchet up the
fight against corruption in state and local government, protect tax dollars and
restore the public's trust in government. The unit is a member of the
multi-agency Southeast Michigan Public Corruption Task Force.
Since its inception, the PIU has filed 155 criminal charges
against 26 defendants. Schuette has obtained convictions in six of the seven
cases that have concluded thus far.
charge is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless