Jessica M. Karmasek Feb. 4, 2013, 1:43pm

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says her office recovered more than $1 million in wages and benefits owed to state workers in 2012.

Last year, Madigan's office collected $1,049,392 in wage and benefit claims referred to her office by the Illinois Department of Labor for violations of the Wage Payment and Collection Act, the Minimum Wage Law and the Prevailing Wage Act.

In 2012, her office initiated 473 new lawsuits to collect wages and penalties owed to Illinois workers.

Madigan released the figures late last month.

"The law requires that Illinoisans be compensated for the work they perform, but as these cases demonstrate, employers far too often attempt to cheat workers out of wages and benefits they have earned," she said in a Jan. 24 statement.

"I will continue to prosecute employers who violate the law by failing to pay the full wages their employees are due."

Recent claims successfully litigated by the Attorney General's Office include:

- Brightstar Healthcare in Gurnee agreed to pay more than $118,000 after previously failing to pay overtime wages owed to more than 20 employees;

- Clarence Davids and Co. in Matteson paid more than $68,000 to settle a prevailing wage claim;

- Eckland Consultants Inc. in Lincolnshire paid more than $44,000 for back pay and accrued vacation pay for an employee under the WPCA;

- Pedro Valdivia d/b/a V&A Landscaping in Elgin agreed to pay more than $96,000 after previously failing to pay prevailing wages to nine employees; and

- American Spring Wire of Kankakee paid more than $44,000 in WPCA claims on behalf of about 20 employees.

"Our department works diligently to ensure thousands of Illinois workers receive the wages they've earned," said Joseph Costigan, director of the labor department.

"With the assistance and support of the Attorney General's Office, we will continue our joint effort to help workers recover owed wages and ensure a level playing field for employers who abide by the law."

Madigan also helped author an amendment to the PWA -- effective Jan. 1, 2012 -- to increase enforcement, bring about greater compliance and prevent fraud.

The new law makes violations of the PWA a Class A misdemeanor and prohibits those convicted of violating the act from working on taxpayer-funded public projects for four years.

According to The Associated Press, Madigan's office generated a total of more than $1.1 billion in state revenue through litigation and collection efforts last year.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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