Laid-off fraud investigators want to keep working

Posted at 5:50 PM on July 6, 2011 by Mike Mulcahy (11 Comments)
Filed under: Courts

From MPR's Laura Yuen:

Do state detectives who investigate white-collar crimes provide an essential service?

Det. Jonathan Ferris apparently thinks so. Ferris, who works on insurance-fraud cases for the Department of Commerce, is scheduled to testify Thursday for another round of hearings before a special master.

By the looks of the petition he filed today, he'll question why seven of 10 sworn officers in the Commerce Department have been laid off during the government shutdown. This is the same division who helped bring down a high-profile alleged mortgage fraud scheme last month.

We were under the assumption that all state law enforcement officers were still working through the shutdown. Ferris' petition writes that the seven fraud detectives were the only members of the Minnesota Law Enforcement Association who were let go.

Ferris argues that state troopers, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents, Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement agents, conservation officers, and Fugitive Task Force agents have all been able to stay on the job.

Ramsey Count y Judge Kathleen Gearin has ruled broadly that the government should continue to protect public safety. She largely approved Gov. Mark Dayton's recommendations, which did name the Commerce Department's "insurance fraud prevention activities" as a critical service.

Ferris' petition appears to have ruffled some feathers at the top of his department. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman wrote a sternly worded letter to Special Master Kathleen Blatz, saying Ferris had "no authority to act on behalf of the Department" or the insurance-fraud division.

But the Second Judicial District makes clear who exactly Ferris is representing - and it's not Commerce. He'll testify as a member of the state's law enforcement association on behalf of the seven laid-off detectives.

He's the first to testify Thursday, at 8 a.m.

Comments (11)

I listen to MPR every day at least 3 hours while I drive to and fro for my route I work. One question I haven't heard be asked is: How long would it take for the amount of money being lost in revenues to the state, and to private business & industry before it would nearly equal the amount of money the politicians are arguing over?.....I work in a field where I see state money being spent, and just one example is a state run facility that houses certain folks who are a danger to mostly to themselves, and these facilities are less than 10,000 square feet owned by a private management company that gets $40,000.00 per month from the state to lease the buildings, and they have at least seven of them. Doesn't the state have their OWN property that they could use for free?...there's a budget question for Dayton.

Posted by Doug O | July 6, 2011 6:37 PM

Everyone except the principles want to keep working. It is long since time for these parties to quit the slicing and dicing of real issues politically. We would be better off picking our office holders by lot.

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