The Utah Bureau of Medicaid Fraud has been asked by the Utah attorney general's office to investigate reports of Medicaid fraud at the Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center in Utah County.

"There's a lot of Medicaid money involved there," said Bureau Chief Susan Jones. The investigation, she said, "is a can of worms."Medicaid fraud investigators are now reviewing the center's Medicaid records. They anticipate the investigation will take several weeks.

State Auditor Tom L. Allen has said his office is also conducting an audit aiming to recover money lost through abuses, and to look at activities by all 160 employees at the center, instead of just the eight targeted in an earlier audit by the legislative auditor general.

That audit, released last week, revealed that center administrators misused $3.5 million over four years. It said administrators gave themselves contracts and credit leeway for thousands of extra dollars a year.

Meanwhile, Utah Senate President Arnold Christensen and House Speaker Glen E. Brown have voiced their anger about the reported abuses.

"We will not tolerate abuses in government and this has to be one of the worst abuses we have ever known about," the two Republicans said in a joint news release.

"People have a right to expect their tax dollars to be efficiently used, let alone not abused. We won't tolerate abuse any more than our fellow Utahns,' Christensen and Brown said.