Acting state Comptroller Marc Larkins hired a friend to oversee the multimillion-dollar Medicaid Fraud Division, angering longtime employees who feared the perception of cronyism in the watchdog office, NJ Advance Media has learned.
The Comptroller’s Office is intended to be an independent guard of the public’s wallet, charged with calling out government waste, fraud and abuse throughout the state. Its findings often prompt new laws and significant changes to policies.
But three sources familiar with the matter said the March hiring of Kenneth Van Deventer, a former senior partner in a high-powered New Jersey law firm, caused concern over the appearance of a double standard inside the office.
Specifically, the sources said, the hiring raised eyebrows because of Van Deventer’s ties to Larkins and his lack of experience with Medicaid investigations, which was a notable departure from his predecessor, a former federal prosecutor.