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Former health official enters plea in Medicaid fraud case

The former head of a Calhoun County mental health organization faces up to 17 months in prison and will pay more than $1 million as part of a plea deal in a fraud case.

The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that Ervin Brinker pleaded guilty Wednesday in Ingham County Circuit Court in Mason.

Brinker will pay $510,000 in restitution and another $510,000 in civil penalties.

He was fired in February from his job as chief executive for Battle Creek-based Summit Pointe.

Brinker was accused of giving $510,000 in public funds to a psychic palm reader in Florida under the guise of health care consulting.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette charged him with Medicaid fraud conspiracy and embezzlement by a public official.

Brinker is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 13.

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