Department Of Labor And Industrial Relations' Fraud And Noncompliance Unit Wins Statewide
Jefferson City, MO (CompNewsNetwork) - Each year,
the Missouri State Investigators Association recognizes the accomplishments of an
investigator or investigative unit that has made an exceptional contribution to the field
of investigations and the communities they serve. This year, both awards were received by
the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations' Fraud and Noncompliance Unit (FNU). The
FNU is housed within the Department's Division of Workers' Compensation.
"I applaud Investigator Vernon and the department's Fraud and Noncompliance Unit for
their successful efforts to root out workers' compensation fraud,” Gov. Blunt said.
"When I became governor, we immediately enacted workers' compensation reform to ensure it
was available to Missourians who needed it. Those reforms would be all for nothing
without vigorous efforts to identify and punish fraud. I am pleased that the unit is
continuing what we began in 2005.”
Investigator of the Year
Investigator II Ronald Vernon has been employed with the FNU for two years. During that
short time he has proven himself to be an invaluable team member. Vernon conducts statewide
criminal investigations into allegations of workers' compensation fraud and noncompliance.
In 2007, Vernon was assigned 138 investigations and referred 54 to the Office of the
Attorney General for possible prosecution. As a result of his referrals, more than $67,000
is being recovered and returned to the Workers' Compensation Fund.
Investigative Unit of the Year
The Department's FNU conducts criminal investigations into workers' compensation fraud
and noncompliance committed throughout Missouri. According to the most recent report
from the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, the FNU referred more cases for prosecution
than any other workers' compensation bureau in the United States under Gov. Blunt's
In 2007, the Unit received 1,044 criminal allegations, and of those investigated cases,
198 were referred to the Office of the Attorney General for prosecution. This number is up
by 35 in comparison to cases referred in 2006. Of those cases referred, 19 were successful
prosecutions, 66 were deferred prosecution agreements, and $304,086.03 was received in
When Gov. Blunt took office, he asked state agencies to become more efficient and
improve collaborative efforts to better serve Missouri taxpayers, and the FNU has
delivered. Not only has this unit proven their effectiveness as a team, but they also have
proven their value in working with other agencies and organizations. During 2007, the FNU
continued to work with other agencies in criminal investigations. Information was shared
with federal prosecutors and agencies, the U.S. Postal Inspector, and state agencies such
as the Missouri Department of Insurance and the Missouri Department of Labor's Division of
Employment Security. Referrals also were made to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE). The unit willingly accepted information from other agencies when working
investigations that originated from crimes and violations alleged in other areas.