Federal authorities are now investigating the misappropriation of state grant money to one of eight regional offices created to help train and coordinate emergency medical response.
The Northwest Region Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Care Council covers counties on the Olympic Peninsula. According to state auditors, former Executive Director Anice Grant shifted more than $390,000 for personal use in the six years prior to her 2010 dismissal.
“It’s a big mess,” explained Council Chairman Steven Engle. “The council didn’t know a lot. They put a lot of trust in Anice Grant.”
Auditors determined Grant filed extra travel reimbursements, paychecks, bonuses and raises without council approval or knowledge. In some instances, Grant “used the Board Char’s signature stamp to sign her own checks up to 10 months after he was no longer Board Chair,” according to the report released November 1. Grant also setup four checking accounts for the council, when the council only knew of one.
Engle said Monday that money should have gone to train EMTs.
“The executive board, up until that time, was not doing the proper job of oversight,” Engle said.
Grant did not return our calls for comment. After being terminated from her position, she successfully applied for state unemployment. The NW Region EMS Council appealed, and got Grant to pay the money back. It also sued the former director to recoup some of its lost money. Grant counter sued, but the case has not progressed.
Investigators with the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are now handling the case. Criminal charges could come, sources say.
Meanwhile, Engle and the current staff have to clean up the “mess” left behind. That includes thousands in unpaid taxes and penalties to the IRS.
“I’ve been dealing with this for two years,” Engle stated. “I don’t think there’s any answer (from Grant) that would make sense.”