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Sorensen's Co-Defendant Gets Stiffer Sentence In Fraud Case

Sorensen walks through courthouse
Ryan Denham
Former McLean County Board member Matt Sorensen after his 2017 sentencing.

Former McLean County Board chair Matt Sorensen’s co-defendant was sentenced Wednesday to a stiffer two-year prison sentence for his role in a scheme that defrauded State Farm Insurance.

Navdeep Arora worked for McKinsey & Company, the largest consulting firm in the world, and led its work for State Farm. Sorensen worked as an internal consultant for State Farm, helping the Bloomington-based insurer decide which outside consultants to use. Prosecutors say they engaged in a billing scheme that lasted for at least three years, using a fake consulting company and fraudulent invoices to steal from State Farm and McKinsey. The scheme cost State Farm nearly $500,000.

Arora, 53, appeared in a federal courtroom in Chicago on Wednesday. Prosecutors recommended a sentence of between two and two and a half years, noting Sorensen had been sentenced to one year and a day in prison last September. He’s serving his time at a federal prison in Marion. He’s set for release Oct. 10.

In a filing, prosecutors also noted that Arora had already paid $336,862 toward his restitution in the case, with plans to allocate his $250,000 posted as his secured bond towards restitution.

“Despite the significance of the fraud, the government submits that defendant should receive some consideration for paying full restitution prior to sentencing. In addition, Arora’s sentence, despite being more culpable, should be reasonably consistent with the sentence imposed on Sorensen, which was one year and one day imprisonment,” prosecutors said in their pre-sentencing filing.

Sorensen pleaded guilty in fall 2016 to one count of wire fraud in the scheme, after being indicted earlier that year. The charges stunned Bloomington-Normal, in a case that ensnared one of the county’s top Republican leader and its largest employer, State Farm. He resigned from the county board soon after.

Sorensen told the judge in September that Arora duped him into a deep friendship that began in the 1990s. Arora lied about many things, Sorensen said, including about Arora’s orphan upbringing, his son with cystic fibrosis, even his birthday (so that they could celebrate their birthdays together).

Sorensen said he was attracted to Arora’s success—and to his “sad and lonely” existence.

“He offered me a mechanism to add to my income, and I took it,” Sorensen said.

Among other crimes, prosecutors say Arora took Sorensen on two personal vacations–to Napa, California, and New York–and expensed them to State Farm as business expenses. The costs included flights, hotels, meals, car services and other items.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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