DeWine Announces U.S. Atty Who Secured Indictments in $60 Million Bribery Case Has New Job with State of Ohio


COLUMBUS, Ohio – David DeVillers is the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio who secured an indictment against then-Speaker of the Ohio House Larry Householder and four others in an alleged $60 million bribery scheme.

While Mike DeWine was Attorney General in 2018, he awarded DeVillers the Mark Losey Distinguished Law Enforcement Service Award.

This week the Republican Governor announced DeVillers will be joining a public-private partnership between the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and a select group of talent on loan from a few of Ohio’s largest businesses.

“A few weeks ago, we contacted the Ohio Business Roundtable, Pat Tiberi and his team. We asked for their assistance in connecting the department of Job and Family Services with private sector partners and experts in banking, insurance, and other industries to help with improvements. We call this team the job and family service public-private partnership, or P3,” said DeWine during a March 8 press briefing.

P3 was established to handle the massive number of fake unemployment claims filed with ODJFS, which have resulted in at least $330 million being paid to fraudulent claims – but as The Ohio Star reported, that number may end up being much higher, perhaps $1B or more according to one source.

DeVillers was tapped as a subject matter expert to be the liaison between P3 and law enforcement officials.  In an email to The Star, ODJFS spokesperson Thomas Betti responded to inquiries about the role the former U.S. Attorney will play, the scope of his work and his pay.

“DeVillers has a unique background in complex investigations and in matters which have international components. JFS is happy to have this unique talent on the team,” wrote Betti.

Betti continued, “ODJFS is actively investigating suspected fraudulent claims, and we are working closely with the U.S. Department of Labor. ODJFS has implemented new fraud detection methods and is partnering with private sector experts to combat fraud and protect taxpayer dollars. However, we cannot give details of our efforts as we do not want to alert criminals to our fraud prevention and detection methods as Ohio is combatting fraud and protecting taxpayer dollars.”

The statement also indicated that ODJFS fraud prevention efforts are under the guidance and jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Labor, office of Inspector General – the Inspector General coordinates with federal law enforcement officials, the U.S. Department of Justice and offices of U.S. Attorneys.

However, Betti did not disclose how much DeVillers will make for the gig but he did write he would “get back” with “how much he is being paid.”

The Chairwoman of the Ohio Democratic Party, Elizabeth Walters, did not view DeWine’s announcement as a step in correcting problems with fraudulent claims and finding the bad actors who are responsible. Instead, she lambasted the move as something akin to a “mob movie.”

Walters wondered how DeWine could hire the former lead investigator on “the case that’s engulfed the Ohio GOP.”

DeWine has been the subject of reports linking his 2018 gubernatorial campaign to contributions from the energy company at the center of the alleged bribery scheme.

“At this point if we thought there was some sort of probable cause that they had committed a crime I can tell you, we would have gone forward with a complaint on that,” then-U.S. Attorney DeVillers told a reporter when asked if public officials not yet named in the probe are under investigation – he went on to mention the Governor and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

In the same report DeVillers continued, “It’s an ongoing investigation. If we find probable cause to believe they committed crimes, we will charge them.”

Yost recently appointed DeVillers special counsel in the investigation of an alleged hazing death at Bowling Green State University.

The Star contacted the Ohio Republican Party (ORP) seeking comment on the tweet from Elizabeth Walters.  “It’s hard to take anything the Democratic Party says seriously when they’ve completely abandoned working class families in favor of radical left wing extremists,” said Justin Bis, ORP Executive Director.

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Jack Windsor is Statehouse Reporter at The Ohio Star. Windsor is also an independent investigative reporter. Follow Jack on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].




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