(JTA) — The FBI destroyed records indicating potential Medicaid fraud among haredi Orthodox Jews in upstate New York’s Orange County because they came from an unauthorized investigation.
Justin Rodriguez, a spokesman for Orange County, told MidHudson News on Tuesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had destroyed materials submitted by a county social services employee, Nicole Latreille.
Latreille filed a lawsuit last month against the county alleging that she was penalized for being a whistleblower after reporting evidence of $40 million in fraud among residents of Kiryas Joel, a predominantly Hasidic village inside the town of Monroe.
Rodriguez said Latreille was suspended temporarily and given a lateral assignment for using county computers and restricted databases “not pursuant to her official duties, but as a private citizen.”
Latreille’s allegations, Rodriguez said, “while populist, are not legally tenable and in fact may have compromised ongoing investigations.”
According to Rodriguez, the FBI informed the county that it had destroyed the materials sent by Latreille earlier this year “due to the improprieties associated with the manner in which the information was obtained.” The bureau said the information was not used in any criminal investigation or prosecution.
Latreille’s complaint suggests that she was punished because her investigation “revealed corruption by persons associated with political allies” of County Executive Steve Neuhaus in Kiryas Joel.