Local News

SBI director stepping down to take on new role

Posted July 29, 2010 1:19 p.m. EDT
Updated July 29, 2010 2:47 p.m. EDT

— The head of the State Bureau of Investigation is stepping down to take on a new role in the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.

Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Thursday that director Robin Pendergraft is leaving the post to serve as a special deputy attorney general for his office's Medicaid fraud program.

Greg McLeod, who has served as legislative counsel for the Attorney General's Office since 2003, has been named the new SBI director.

Cooper said that the shift comes after state lawmakers authorized funding for 25 new positions to doubles the Medicaid Investigative Unit.

The unit has recovered more than $361 million in fraud cases over the last decade, he said.

“Medicaid fraud is a growing problem that is robbing taxpayers and preventing people from getting the health care they need,” Cooper said in a news release. “We need an aggressive leader with law enforcement and legal experience, and Robin Pendergraft can bring that expertise to the job.”

Pendergraft, whom Cooper called "a fighter for justice," was the longest-serving director of the SBI, appointed in 2001, and is the first woman to hold the position.

She has been with the North Carolina Department of Justice since 1987. She previously served as a special deputy attorney general in the Law Enforcement Liaison Section, which assists local law enforcement agencies with legal advice and technical assistance.

McLeod, Cooper said, will build upon the SBI's successes and continue to improve it.

"Greg has gained extensive knowledge of law enforcement issues, and he has developed a close working relationship to the law enforcement community in our state," the attorney general said. "He will be working diligently to make the North Carolina SBI even better at solving crimes and seeking justice."

In addition to serving as legislative counsel, he has been a policy advisor for the Attorney General's Office and, prior to that, was general counsel to the state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, which oversees areas of law enforcement like the State Highway Patrol.