Proposed bill places workers’ comp fraud in criminal code
GALESBURG — A bill that’s part of a 12-bill package in the Illinois Senate would amend the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012 to include workers’ compensation fraud if passed.
Senate Bill 12 would add a section to the criminal code stipulating the penalties for various types of workers’ compensation fraud. The bill states that “any person, company, corporation, insurance carrier, health care provider or other entity” who makes a fraudulent claim to receive workers’ compensation commits, at minimum, a Class A misdemeanor for $500 or less of stolen benefits, and at maximum, a Class 1 felony for more than $100,000 worth.
The bill also states that those who provide a false insurance certificate as proof of workers’ compensation insurance, as well as those who give false information to the Department of Insurance’s investigative unit during the course of an investigation, commit a Class 3 felony. Those who provide false information about workers’ compensation entitlement with the intent of preventing an injured worker from claiming workers’ compensation will be committing a Class 4 felony.
In addition, the bill defines what qualifies as an accidental injury, and sets the maximum compensation rate an injured worker can receive for a certain period of time. The bill stipulates that accidental injuries incurred while traveling to-and-from work and while on personal errands do not count as injuries incurred while on the job. An amendment to the bill sets the maximum compensation rate from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2021, at $775.18.
Sen. Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, sponsored the bill, which will not pass in the Legislature unless the other 11 bills in the same package also pass. Patty Schuh, press secretary for the Illinois Senate Republicans and assistant to Radogno, said one of the goals of the bill is to “maximize the efficiencies in the [workers’ compensation] system.”
She added the bill is still a work in progress, and that Radogno and Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, “continue to receive input from various stakeholders” on what to include in the bill.