Why does imprisoned psychologist still have license to practice?

Inverness psychologist Sharon Rinaldi pleaded guilty in May 2015 to federal health care fraud charges alleging she bilked Medicare out of at least $447,000 between 2008 and 2012 by submitting false claims for treatment of patients in Chicago-area nursing homes, and in some cases for patients who were dead.

Last month, Rinaldi, 61, turned herself in to the Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia to begin serving a 15-month sentence stemming from her conviction.

So why does Rinaldi still have active licenses to practice as a clinical psychologist and registered professional nurse in Illinois?

We asked Terry Horstman, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Horstman confirmed that no discipline had been imposed on Rinaldi - yet. He said the department has filed a complaint against Rinaldi and a hearing in her case is scheduled next week.

Federal prosecutors said Rinaldi submitted phony bills to Medicare for about $1.1 million over four years, collecting at least $447,155. In nearly a dozen instances, they said, she submitted claims indicating she had provided between 35 and 42 hours of therapy in a single day. In others, she submitted claims stating she had provided care to Chicago-area patients when she was actually in San Diego or Las Vegas.

End of watch

The longest-serving police officer in Schaumburg's history is calling it a day.

Sgt. Donald Muth retired this week after a 40-year career that included time as a detective, patrol officer and supervisor.

"I certainly wasn't out to beat anybody," Muth said of his tenure. "But it's pretty nice. Not a lot of guys have been around that long. It's just a feather in my cap."

Asked about the biggest changes in law enforcement since his career began in 1976, Muth names two: Technology and training.

"Back then you'd go through the academy for 10 to 12 weeks, ride with a training officer for a while and boom, you're out on your own," he said. "Now it's continual training. It's more professional."

Muth, 64, plans to spend his retirement watching his grandkids, taking care of projects around the house and traveling. He said what he'll miss most are the daily interactions with fellow officers - many of whom weren't born when his career started - and members of the community.

"I hope most people who dealt with me over the years had a good experience," he said.

Lake County sheriff's Detective Vince Ramirez, left, and Corrections Officer Geoffrey Miller represented the office's Honor Guard this week at the funeral of slain Des Moines police Sgt. Anthony 'Tony' Beminio. It was one of three law enforcement officer funerals honor guard members attended in the past seven days. Courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office

Somber duty

Members of the Lake County sheriff's office's Honor Guard performed important, but unfortunate, duties in the past seven days when they traveled to Iowa and Wisconsin to attend the funerals of three law enforcement officers murdered in the line of duty.

The deputies were among hundreds of officers representing their departments at the Nov. 4 funeral of Rusk County (Wisconsin) Deputy Dan Glaze, the Nov. 7 services for Des Moines (Iowa) Sgt. Anthony 'Tony' Beminio and the Nov. 8 funeral of Urbandale (Iowa) Officer Justin Martin.

"Sending members of the Lake County sheriff's Honor Guard is the least we could do to show our support for those tragically murdered while serving and protecting their communities," Undersheriff Ray Rose said.

Legal interpretations

Fourteen: That's the number of languages for which Kane County had to contract translators for its courts, according to billings for September and October.

Spanish, we expected. Polish, not a stretch, considering Chicago is said to be the second-largest collection of Poles outside Warsaw.

The others? American Sign Language, Gujarati, Mongolian, Nepali, Persian, Mandarin, Russian, Hindi, Laotian, Hungarian, Tagalog and Arabic.

The dish on dishes

When you're dishing out 1,600 meals a day, your dishwasher is important. That's why Kane County Sheriff Don Kramer this week got a county board committee to OK an emergency expense of $76,500 to buy a new one.

Workers, including inmate "trusties," have been sanitizing meal trays by hand in sinks, using 160-degree water, since the dishwasher broke.

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