Federal investigation of Illinois workers’ compensation

Federal prosecutors are investigating potential fraud in the Illinois workers’ compensation cases at various Illinois government agencies due to payments of almost $10 million in benefits at Menard Correctional Center and questionable practices by three arbitrators.  Subpoenas were issued to the Department of Corrections, the Department of Central Management Services, the Department of Insurance and the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

The federal subpoenas sought documents including:

1.     Any email about workers’ compensation claims made by employees of Menard Correctional Center or other state agencies.

2.     Email, personnel records, employee vouchers and reimbursements for CMS employee Susan Lemasters for the past five years. Lemasters decides workers’ compensation settlements for Department of Corrections employees.

3.     Email and personnel records for Bill Schneider, the former Assistant Attorney General who handled the workers’ compensation claim of Matt Mitchell (the Illinois State Police Trooper who crashed into a car at 126 mph, killing two Collinsville teenage sisters in November 2007.

4.     Email and personnel records for Workers’ Compensation Arbitrators Andrew Nalefski, Jennifer Teague and John Dibble.

It should be noted that both Arbitrators Dibble and Teague ruled on most of the claims at issue, but also have their own workers’ comp claims.

According to the Sun-Times, Gov. Quinn supported that law-enforcement was investigating the state’s workers’ compensation system, and indicated that he wants to overhaul the system this spring.

For more information, please read the articles in the Belleville News Democrat, Sun-Times, and Chicago Tribune.

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