AUGUSTA – Federal figures show a special Medicaid fraud unit in Maine sent only a handful of criminal referrals to the state Attorney General’s Office over a three-year period.

The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 16 out of 3,600 cases referred to the attorney general over the past three years were from the fraud unit.

Democratic state Rep. Drew Gattine of Westbrook says the review brings into question whether the state is getting a return on investment from the fraud unit.

The fraud unit is called the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ Medicaid Program Integrity Unit. A spokesman for the department says only cases that are likely to be successfully prosecuted have been turned over to the unit.