What to Do When Investigated
The Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, Inc.



IDFPR License Defense Attorney

What a licensed professional should do when they are being investigated by Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR)

What are the ways an IDFPR an investigation starts?
An IDFPR investigation can be started in many different ways. One way is through the IDFPR Complaint Intake Unit. This unit within IDFPR receives complaints from the public, employers, and other healthcare providers about a licensed professional. In some instances, insurance companies may notify IDFPR of a healthcare provider who doesn't meet an insurance plan provider's standard of care. Investigations can also be opened based on information provided by an applicant for a new license or for a license renewal. State or federal agencies like the DEA may notify IDFPR of its own ongoing investigation. Once the IDFPR receives a complaint from any of these sources, it will likely assign your case to an Investigator, who will then open up a file under the licensed professional's name and license number.

What should I do if I am contacted by an IDFPR Investigator?
An individual may be contacted by an IDFPR Investigator via telephone or in person, sometimes at work or home. Typically, the Investigator will make a request for documentation or other information related to the investigation. It is wise to cooperate with the IDFPR Investigator, but you should remember that the Investigator is not your friend. We recommend that licensees contact an attorney before speaking with or providing documentation to an investigator. An attorney can help the individual maintain a proper balance between cooperating with the Investigator and protecting their rights and interests. Every complaint that is received by the IDFPR must be investigated.

Is someone required to talk to the Investigator?
A licensee does not have to talk to an IDFPR investigator. However, many licensees have found that a failure to cooperate with IDFPR has put a strain on their investigations. A licensee is entitled to speak with an attorney and have legal counsel present throughout the course of an investigation.

Some licensees may have an incorrect impression that the investigators are involved in the decision-making process. However, the Investigator's reports are provided to the IDFPR Enforcement Division. In light of this fact, having legal counsel during an investigation is crucial and will in no way damage the Department's perception of you.

Must I give the Investigator Documents?
Oftentimes, an Investigator will request certain types of documentation, like patient or financial records, as part of their investigation. An individual can refuse this request if there is no subpoena. If the Investigator provides a licensee with a subpoena for documentation, the licensee must either contest the legitimacy of the subpoena in court or comply with it. If the IDFPR Investigator is requesting medical records from a licensee, the Investigator must provide a patient release form and/or a subpoena. An attorney can help the person use this part of the investigation to provide relevant evidence to the IDFPR to mitigate the potential consequences of the investigation.

What is the first step after the investigation is complete and if a case is opened against the licensee?
Once a complaint has been fully investigated, it gets assigned to an IDFPR Prosecutor. The Prosecutor will contact the individual with notice as to whether the matter will proceed formally or informally. This makes it important for a licensee to ensure the IDFPR always has his current contact information. An order of default can be entered against a licensee for failing to respond to a formal complaint.

The notice someone receives from an IDFPR Prosecutor could either be an Informal Disciplinary Conference notice or a "Preliminary Hearing" notice. An Informal Disciplinary Notice provides a licensee notice of a day and time they can meet with their licensing board to address the filed complaint. Receiving an Informal Disciplinary Conference is just as serious as receiving a Preliminary Hearing notice from IDFPR. An Informal Disciplinary Conference is an opportunity for a licensee to meet with a staff attorney and a licensing board member on an "informal" basis to share their side of the story and provide important context around the allegations. In an Informal Disciplinary Conference, the focus is on trying to resolve the matter without having the Department file a formal complaint.

A formal complaint will detail the allegations being made against a licensee and include a preliminary hearing date to appear in front of an administrative law judge at the IDFPR. If this occurs, the licensee must appear before an administrative law judge. The judge will order the individual to respond to the complaint and, eventually, set a schedule for a formal hearing.

What is an "Informal Disciplinary Conference"?
An Informal Disciplinary Conference is a meeting between the licensee, an IDFPR prosecutor, and a member of the licensee's corresponding licensing board. At this meeting, the licensee will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations. The goal of the Informal Disciplinary Conference is to attempt to convince the IDFPR to dismiss the case or lessen the consequences of any alleged misconduct. The Informal Disciplinary Conference is not a Formal Hearing. There are no court reporters and no witness testimony at the Conference. A licensee is allowed to have an attorney representing her at the Conference. We recommend that anytime a licensee appears at an Informal Disciplinary Conference, she have attorney present to assist.

If a licensee receives a Notice of Informal Disciplinary Conference, she should appear at the IDFPR at the scheduled date and time. A licensee can address the matter with IDFPR without a Formal Complaint being filed. An Informal Conference may actually prevent a formal complaint from being filed. The Notice of Informal Disciplinary Conference will inform the licensee of the allegations against her/him. During the Conference, information that is relevant to your case should be provided to the IDFPR Prosecutor and the Board Member, and questions should be answered in an effort to resolve the matter. If the case cannot be closed, the prosecutor may offer a disciplinary settlement at the close of the Informal Conference, such as a fine, probation, reprimand, or suspension. In most cases, licensees have found that having an attorney at this stage is imperative.

Any forms of discipline are negotiated and written into a document called a Consent Order. This order is signed by the parties involved with the Informal Disciplinary Conference and the IDFPR Director. If the agreed-upon settlement is a public discipline, it will be published on the Department's website and, potentially, other practitioner databases.

How should someone prepare for an Informal Disciplinary Conference?
A good plan is to prepare as if you were to go into a Formal Hearing. IDFPR Prosecutors sometimes use the Informal process to intimidate licensees into taking unfair settlements. Prior to the conference, it is important that you provide your attorney with any and all documentation received by IDFPR, all information and documentation given to IDFPR before you retained an attorney, and any and all documentation in your possession that is relevant to the case allegations.

The most common mistakes a licensee makes when receiving a "Notice of Informal Disciplinary Conference":

  • Attempt to deal directly with his or her respective licensing board on their own
  • Believe that he or she will be treated fairly
  • Postpone seeking assistance from an experienced attorney until the discipline process has advanced, and the prospects of serious consequences are forthcoming
  • Speaking with Board investigators as if they are a confidante or supportive colleague
  • Inadequately preparing for the Informal Disciplinary Conference
What should someone do when investigated?
One of the most intimidating things a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, psychologist, chiropractor, dentist, or any other type of licensed professional can face is being investigated by a regulatory agency. Licensed healthcare professionals work with the knowledge that they are being closely watched by regulatory agencies. There are a multitude of federal laws and administrative regulations, state licensing board laws and rules, and other ordinances and statutes that cover almost every facet of their practices. Charges may result from a wide variety of actions, and they may be brought by regulators, competitors, patients, or clients. Throughout the United States, the number of professionals disciplined by state licensing boards is increasing every year. Professionals are not more likely to be investigated. However, taking some smart, cautious steps when you are the subject of an investigation will help you safeguard your rights and reach a positive outcome to your case. 

Do not be "in a hurry" to resolve your case.
Oftentimes, patience benefits the person being accused. While it is important to be aware of statutory time limits under the law, in regulatory actions, there is in most cases no specific time in which a person must act, so you take the time you need to respond. Most of the legal actions brought forward in the United States are resolved through negotiation rather than in a trial or formal hearing. It is often easier to negotiate with prosecutors when they are trying to "resolve" old cases. 

The IDFPR Investigator and Prosecutor are not on your side.
Oftentimes, licensed professionals may be caught off guard by an investigator, causing them to say and act on things that may not be in their interest. In an attempt to defend themselves, they may actually harm their ability to provide an effective legal defense in their case by making written statements or answering questions incorrectly without the advice of an experienced council. They do this without fully understanding the nature of the investigation. Many professionals believe that the IDFPR Investigator and the IDFPR Prosecutor are their friends. They are not.

Before you answer any questions to the IDFPR, ask them some questions.
Many times, licensed professionals agree to provide requested documentation or submit to an interview with a representative of the IDFPR before they fully understand who is requesting this information and their purpose for doing so. A professional should always be certain she understands the allegations being made against her and how the information the IDFPR representative is requesting relates to the allegations.

Determine which agency is conducting the investigation.
Law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels may all have jurisdiction in one case. If an investigator from any agency wants to speak to you, you should first find out who they are and which agency they represent. Finding out which agency is performing the investigation is important. Different aspects of a healthcare professional's practice are investigated by different agencies. By finding out who is performing the investigation, you can gain a better understanding of what the investigation is actually addressing. 

Ask the Investigator what is the purpose of the investigation.
An IDFPR investigation may concern you, an employee, a colleague, or a nearby professional. It is prudent to ask the Investigator who exactly is being investigated and why the investigation is occurring. If you are the person being investigated, you may wish to discuss the matter with an attorney. You have a right to postpone or terminate the interview with the IDFPR Investigator. 

Efforts by the Investigator to minimize the investigation.
If you are informed by the Investigator that they are just performing a "routine investigation" you should look at who considers it to be routine? Yes, it may be a routine matter for the Investigator; she/he investigates may people and entities every day. Being part of an investigation is not something to take lightly. In the event the Investigator refuses to tell you who is the actual subject of the investigation or says he/she can't discuss the reason for the investigation, then it would be in your best interests to end the interview.

If you feel you are intimidated by an Investigator, you should end the interview.
The investigator may sometimes use phrases like "If you don't want to answer questions right now, you can speak to a judge," "We can terminate your business," or "We can do this the easy way or the hard way." If you hear this from the Investigator, then it should be clear to you that they are not going to treat you in a reasonable manner. They are more likely concerned with their own importance than with your right to pursue your career without undue influence. This type of attitude lets you know that it is best to stop speaking to them and contact an attorney. Remember that an Investigator is there to perform their job. Investigators are not your friends.

If you are given the Miranda Warning ("You have the right to remain silent"), remain silent.
Miranda Warnings are only given when a party is the subject of a criminal investigation. If this is expressed to you, you are the subject of a criminal investigation. If this is the case, it is best to talk with an attorney about your investigation.  

By law, most of the time you are not required to participate in an investigator's interview.
In those rare cases when you are legally required to participate in an interview, you are first entitled to consult with an attorney and have an attorney with you during your interview. After you have determined the reason for the investigation and the identity of the person and agency that performing the investigation, you can make a decision about whether you want to talk to the Investigator or let them know that you will not be agreeing to an interview. Most attorneys advise their clients to avoid speaking to investigators without legal counsel present. In serious cases, the person being investigated should first describe the situation to their attorney. There are variations to every story, and an investigator or prosecutor is likely to claim that those variations show a lack of credibility on the part of the storyteller. 

A person can terminate an investigative interview at any time.
Many licensed professionals who are the subject of an investigation will worry about offending the investigator by seeming uncooperative. Remember, the investigator is not on your side and has a job to do. Whether an investigator does or does not like you has no bearing on your case. You have a right to continue to practice your profession uninterrupted. If you are unhappy with how an interview is proceeding, you can simply state to the Investigator, "Let me speak with my attorney, and I will get back to you with an answer." 

Do not lie to an Investigator, and do not try and justify the actions in question.
If you decide to speak with an investigator, do not lie or commit perjury. Lying to a federal agent is a federal, and lying to a State of Illinois investigator is a state crime. It is not necessary to lie. Remember, you can end an interview for any reason at any time. Therefore, if you are uncomfortable or feel intimidated, or if you do not like the questions you are being asked, you have a right to stop the interview and speak to an attorney. A licensed professional's first instinct may be to explain the situation, but it is important to remember that the investigator is not there to provide you with sympathy or understanding. An investigator is tasked with gathering evidence with an eye towards prosecuting misconduct allegedly committed by the person who is under investigation. That means the investigator is not an unbiased listener. In many instances, an investigator may not have the knowledge required to fully understand the case or your corresponding explanations for your conduct.

After providing your interview, you will not be able to review and correct the Investigator's report.
In almost all cases, an investigator will prepare a written report containing information gained in any interviews performed over the course of an investigation. These reports are important for many reasons. The most important reason is that prosecutors will review these reports when deciding whether formal charges should be filed. The Investigator's report will also be reviewed by a licensing board prior to an Informal Disciplinary Conference. The reports may also be allowed as evidence at a Formal Hearing. A concern is that an Investigator's report is written from an Investigator's viewpoint. An investigator may minimize certain statements or important points that were raised if this information does not fit into the investigator's beliefs about the case. If you decide not to speak to an investigator, you will have the chance to provide your story in your own words on the record in a much more fair environment. Also, it is important to remember that your statements to an investigator will never be used for your benefit by a prosecutor. 

Never provide a written statement during an interview.
There is nothing to be gained by supplying a written statement during an interview by an Investigator. A written statement can force you into a position and be used against you. It's highly unlikely it will ever be used to your benefit. An attorney should review all formal statements prior to their submission.

Most cases are resolved via Informal Disciplinary Conferences rather than at a Formal Hearing.
In our experience, most cases conclude with a negotiated settlement after an informal disciplinary conference. Settlements oftentimes depend on the information provided to the prosecutor and that prosecutor's evaluation of what can be proved at a formal hearing. In many cases, the less information the prosecution has, the better. A person being investigated cannot control the amount of information obtained, but they can control the amount of information provided by the person to the Investigator. Therefore, guard the information you provide carefully. It is wise to only consider providing information to an Investigator after advice from an attorney.

Experienced, Insightful, and Dedicated Defense Every Step of the Way

A federal investigation can seem like a daunting ordeal to go through. The body investigating you has considerable resources at their disposal. It is best to defend yourself with proven legal representation. Our DuPage County professional defense attorney will defend your rights at every step of the investigation. Contact us at 630-310-1267 to schedule your free consultation. Our committed legal staff serves clients throughout DuPage County as well as Princeton, Elburn, Western Springs, and Naperville.

Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Illinois Pharmacists Association American Pharmacists Association Better Business Bureau elite lawyer SuperLawyer Joseph Bogdan 10.0Joseph John Bogdan
To Top