Criminal Charges Filed Against WSI Director

The head of North Dakota’s workers compensation agency and the agency’s top investigator should be suspended from their jobs.

That’s the opinion of Governor John Hoeven after today’s news that the head of what’s called the Workforce Safety and Insurance agency and its top fraud investigator have been charged with felonies.

Director Sandy Blunt and investigator Romi Leingang were to focus of an audit which found improper activities.

Governor Hoeven says until a full investigation has been completed, the two should not be fired.

Brad Feldman has more on today’s developments…

Sandy Blunt is the executive director of Workforce Safety and Insurance. Now, he is listed as the defendant on three criminal complaints. Blunt is charged with two counts of misapplication of entrusted property. The first count, a Class B felony, accuses Blunt of spending WSI money on things outside of the agencies interest.

(Richard Riha, Burleigh County State’s Attorney) “An example would be you know gift certificates to restaurants.”

The second count, a class C felony, deals with bonuses given to WSI employees.

(Riha) “There is a statutory limit on bonuses for employees and our allegation there is that was improperly done.”

In addition, Blunt and co-worker Romi Leingang are charged with conspiracy to commit disclosure of confidential information.

(Riha) “It essentially involves drivers license photos that were released to people that shouldn’t have been and that is confidential information.”

The attorney representing Romi Leingang, Tim Purdon, says they are disappointed with the states attorneys office.

(Tim Purdon, Leingang’s Attorney) “Romi in this case is basically just an employee who is basically following orders from her superiors and I think when the facts come out the decision will be that she actually violated no laws.”

No matter the involvement, the case is now in the courts hands. The legal process will play out and determine who, if anyone is guilty of the charges. Brad Feldman, KX News

If convicted of the charges, Blunt faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of 20-thousand dollars.

Leingang faces a maximum of five years in prison and a 5-thousand dollar fine.