DETROIT (AP) — Wayne County authorities have failed to pay about $4 million in restitution to crime victims, and the prosecutor's and clerk's offices blame each other for the backlog, a newspaper said Sunday.
Those who committed the crimes paid the restitution money to the county, but officials haven't distributed it to the victims, the Detroit Free Press said.
The county gave $2.5 million to the state from 2001 to 2009 for crime victims it didn't find and is holding about $1.5 million in recent cases, the newspaper said.
County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said her office discovered the problem years ago and brought people together to try to fix it.
"When I found out there were millions of dollars that were literally sitting undisbursed to the victims who deserve them, I was shocked," Worthy said. "You realize our office is not the one that sends out the checks. It's the responsibility of the clerk's office."
County Deputy Clerk Caven West said prosecutors haven't provided his office with addresses for many victims.
"The prosecutor's office made sure restitution was assessed, but when it came to finding the addresses of the victim, then all of a sudden, 'No, it's not my issue. I'm overworked; I'm understaffed,'" he said.
"Well, you know what? We all are. But the question here is: Is it a priority? That's the big question."
Worthy denied her office has failed to give victims' addresses to the clerk's office.
Christopher Delavale is the guardian for his disabled brother Nicholas, whose money sits in a clerk's bank account, the Free Press said.
"I've been waiting," Delavale said. "Nobody wants to do nothing. I keep getting the run-around."
The men's sister, Tina M. Erickson, cashed some of Nicholas Delavale's checks in 2005 and was ordered to repay him about $3,300. She has been making payments and is up to $840, but he has gotten none of it, records show.
"He asks me all the time" about the money, Christopher Delavale said.