January 13, 2016
LANSING — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced the sentencing of Ervin Brinker for two counts of Medicaid Fraud Conspiracy and one count of Embezzlement by a Public Officer. Brinker, former CEO of a Community Mental Health Authority in Battle Creek known as Summit Pointe, was sentenced to 32 months to 10 years in prison by Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette. Brinker pleaded guilty as charged in November 2015 to the scheme to divert public funds to his personal psychic fortuneteller by using two bogus consulting contracts.
As part of his plea agreement, Brinker will pay $1,020,000, which includes $510,000 in restitution to Summit Pointe and an additional $510,000 civil penalty to the State of Michigan. Brinker has also waived all rights to his public pension, which had a present value of over $2 million.
“The cost of abusing the public trust in Michigan is very high, for both the abuser and the tax payers,” said Schuette. “I would like to thank Summit Pointe and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for assisting with this investigation.”
Brinker, 69, of Delton, was the CEO of Summit Pointe in Battle Creek until his termination on February 17, 2015. Summit Pointe is a Community Mental Health Authority (CMHA) established by the Board of Commissioners of Calhoun County and provides mental and behavioral health services to Medicaid consumers in Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, and Van Buren counties.
Summit Pointe records showed a total of $510,000 was dispersed by two separate contracts to pay a “health care consultant” in Key West, Florida between the dates of May 2011 and November 2012 for alleged consulting services. As CEO, Brinker had the authority to contractually bind Summit Pointe without board approval and he approved the fraudulent contracts without the consultation of other employees. Additionally, Brinker did not notify his board of the alleged contracts. The Attorney General investigation revealed that Brinker sent the $510,000 to a Key West psychic palm reader and her husband under the guise of health care consulting.