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Official Resigns After Criminal Past Revealed

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Former county mental health administrator Kevin DeWitt resigned his new post Friday, four days after admitting that he kept a criminal past hidden from county officials when he was hired three years ago.

DeWitt, 39, of Camarillo submitted a resignation letter late Friday, said Barbara Fitzgerald, director of the Human Services Agency, where DeWitt has worked since April.

“He clearly feels that he has embarrassed the agency and he regrets that,” Fitzgerald said. “He felt that [resigning] was the best thing to do.”

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DeWitt was county mental health administrator until he was ousted from that job after a failed merger and transferred to the Human Services Agency.

DeWitt failed to disclose eight bank fraud convictions dating back 10 years when he applied for a deputy director’s position in the Behavioral Health Department in 1996.

County officials say they were alerted to DeWitt’s past by FBI agents, who were conducting criminal checks on several county managers as part of a probe into the mental health department.

DeWitt’s past became publicly known earlier this week. DeWitt told The Times he had lied about the felonies on his employment application because years had passed and he felt he was no longer obligated to report them.

DeWitt could not be reached for comment late Friday.

Fitzgerald said DeWitt has done a good job over the past three months, drawing up plans to make the agency’s computers Y2K-compliant. DeWitt will train other employees to follow through on that plan before his Aug. 20 departure, Fitzgerald said.

Disclosure of DeWitt’s past was another embarrassing wrinkle in management of the Behavioral Health Department, which has been rocked by turmoil for more than a year.

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State and federal investigations into billing practices at the mental health agency have so far resulted in the county being forced to pay a $15.3-million Medicare fraud settlement. Other reviews are pending and more fines may be imposed.

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