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Man from Normal sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison for workers' compensation fraud

Longest sentence for workers' compensation fraud in Illinois since anti-fraud provisions first enacted in 2005

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[February 05, 2014]  CHICAGO Illinois Department of Insurance Director Andrew Boron announced on Monday that a recent workers' compensation fraud investigation resulted in an 8 1/2-year sentence for a central Illinois man. Elbert Rayford Jr., of Normal, was sentenced on Jan. 24 to more than eight years in prison for attempting to obtain roughly $45,000 in workers' compensation benefits through fraud.

Rayford, a former employee of T.G. Gum Trucking in Farmer City, misrepresented his medical condition and exaggerated his symptoms to doctors and physical therapists in order to remain off work, collect temporary total disability benefits and receive medical care that was no longer necessary.

"Workers' compensation fraud is a crime," said Boron. "We will investigate to determine wrongdoing and then work with law enforcement to make sure perpetrators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

The investigation was conducted by the Workers' Compensation Fraud Unit of the Department of Insurance. Video surveillance showed Rayford engaged in activities that demonstrated that his statements to medical providers were untrue. The case was referred to the McLean County state's attorney's office for prosecution.

"We appreciate the investigation done by the Illinois Department of Insurance, which helped bring about the successful prosecution of this case," said Assistant State's Attorney Jessica Woods. "The McLean County state's attorney's office does not take the attempted misappropriation of public funds lightly, and we were pleased to assist in bringing Mr. Rayford to justice. We hope this sentence serves as a deterrent to anyone else who considers committing this type of fraud."

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Eight and a half years is the longest sentence handed down for violating the anti-fraud provisions of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act. The anti-fraud provisions were enacted in 2005 and amended in 2011. The 2011 amendments included stronger sentencing provisions, which applied to this case, based on the date Rayford committed fraud. Rayford, who pleaded guilty, will also be required to pay $585.38 in restitution and, as a part of his sentence, serve two years of mandatory supervised release upon his release from prison.

For more information about workers' compensation fraud, including matters that may involve fraud perpetrated by a claimant, visit the Department of Insurance website at http://insurance.illinois.gov/WCFU/default.asp. To report an employer, health care provider, attorney, insurance agent or company, contact the Workers' Compensation Fraud Unit at 877-WCF-UNIT (877-923-8648).

[Text from Illinois Department of Insurance file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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