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December 04, 2006
Cortez Named Director of Medicaid Fraud Control Unit

OLYMPIAAttorney General Rob McKenna today named Assistant Attorney General Dawn Cortez as the new Director of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

The MFCU investigates and prosecutes the criminal abuse and neglect of residents of Medicaid-funded facilities, and fraud perpetrated by health care providers against the Medicaid system. Last year the MFCU was successful in numerous criminal prosecutions, and recovered more than $9 million for Washington state through the investigation and prosecution of fraudulent providers.

“I am proud of the work our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit performs, and I believe that Dawn Cortez is the perfect person to lead the MFCU as we move ahead with our plan to provide an even greater level of service to the public, “ McKenna said. “We are building on our past successes by increasing the number of Medicaid fraud and abuse investigators, and making those investigators more easily accessible to citizens on both sides of the state.”

Earlier this year a new branch of the MFCU was established in Spokane to better fight Medicaid fraud and patient abuse in Eastern Washington.

The MFCU includes four attorneys and 20 other investigators and support staff. Four members of the MFCU are located in the Spokane branch, and the remainder are moving to Olympia from Tacoma early next year.

A career public attorney, Cortez is a graduate from Gonzaga Law School, class of 1989. After externing for a U.S. Magistrate, she worked for the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office before joining the Attorney General’s Office for the first time in 1996. Cortez worked in the Social and Health Services Division and then the Criminal Justice Division during her first stint with the AGO. She accepted the position of Supervisor of the Special Assault Unit for the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in 2001, and has now returned to the Attorney General’s Office.

Cortez has tried over 30 trials and handled seven child homicide cases and hundreds of sexual and physical assault cases. She is a recipient of the Myra Bradwell Award from the Gonzaga Law School Women’s Law Caucus for her work on behalf of women and children.

David Waterbury retired last week after heading the MFCU for more than 20 years. Waterbury is a past president of the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and is acknowledged as a national leader in his field. In 1997 he received U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno’s Distinguished Service Award for his work in negotiating the two largest health care fraud cases ever settled in the United States.


Contact:        Luke Esser, AGO Outreach Director, 206-584-3045

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