136. Workers' compensation fraud inspector general. 1. Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(a) "Inspector general" means the workers' compensation fraud inspector general created by this section.
(b) "Assistant inspector general" means a workers' compensation fraud assistant inspector general created by this section.
2. Appointment, compensation and removal. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the governor shall appoint the inspector general. The board shall employ and the governor shall fix the compensation of the inspector general. The inspector general shall, and may do so without civil service examination, appoint and the board shall employ, such assistant inspectors general and other persons as he or she deems necessary, determine their duties and fix their compensation. Such assistant inspectors general shall assist the inspector general in carrying out the inspector general's duties and responsibilities as set forth in this section and shall have such powers as granted the inspector general under this section. Employees appointed pursuant to this section without civil service examination shall be placed in the noncompetitive class of the competitive service pursuant to subdivision two-a of section forty-two of the civil service law and shall serve at the pleasure of the governor. The payment of salaries and compensation of employees appointed pursuant to this section shall be made pursuant to section one hundred forty-eight of this chapter.
3. Powers, duties and responsibilities. The inspector general shall investigate violations of the laws and regulations pertaining to the operation of the workers' compensation system. The inspector general shall have the following powers, duties and functions:
(a) to conduct and supervise investigations, within or without this state, of possible fraud and other violations of laws, rules and regulations pertaining to the workers' compensation system;
(b) to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths or affirmations, take testimony and compel the production of such books, papers, records and documents as the inspector general may deem to be relevant to an investigation undertaken pursuant to this section;
(c) to report to the attorney general, the insurance frauds bureau, or other appropriate law enforcement agency, violations found through investigations undertaken pursuant to this section and to provide such materials and assistance as may be necessary or appropriate for the successful investigation and prosecution of violations of this chapter;
(d) to submit a written report, on an annual basis, to the governor and to the chair of the board, listing all activities undertaken to the extent such activities can be disclosed pursuant to subdivision five of this section; and
(e) to recommend legislative and regulatory changes to the governor and to the chair of the board.
4. Cooperation of agency officials and employees. (a) In addition to the authority otherwise provided by this section, the inspector general, in carrying out the provisions of this section, is authorized:
(i) to have full and unrestricted access to all records, reports, audits, reviews, documents, papers, recommendations or other material maintained by the board or any other state agency relating to the workers' compensation system, with respect to which the inspector general has responsibilities under this section; and
(ii) to request such information, assistance and cooperation from any federal, state or local government, department, board, bureau, commission, or other agency or unit thereof as may be necessary for carrying out the duties and responsibilities enjoined upon the inspector general by this section. State and local agencies or units thereof are hereby authorized and directed to provide such information, assistance and cooperation.
(b) No person shall prevent, seek to prevent, interfere with, obstruct or otherwise hinder any investigation being conducted pursuant to this section.
5. Disclosure of information. The inspector general shall not publicly disclose information which is:
(a) a part of an ongoing investigation or prosecution; or
(b) specifically prohibited from disclosure by any other provision of law.
The disclosure of information in order to coordinate investigations with the insurance frauds bureau of the department of financial services, including the unit for workers' compensation insurance frauds investigations within such insurance frauds bureau, and any frauds investigations unit of the state insurance fund, to provide the report required by paragraph (c) of subdivision three of this section or to apprise the chair of ongoing investigations shall not be considered public disclosure for purposes of this section.
Last modified: February 3, 2019