Every month, the Travis County district attorney’s office prosecutes fraud cases against people who’ve filed workers’ compensation claims with the Texas Mutual Insurance Company.

And every month, Texas Mutual cuts the DA’s office a check for its trouble — totaling $4.7 million since 2001, according to a three-part joint investigation by the Texas Tribune and the Austin American-Statesman

It’s an exclusive deal between Texas Mutual, the state’s largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance, and the Travis County DA, whose seat in the state capital gives it jurisdiction over some statewide cases like insurance fraud. 

The arrangement is one-of-a-kind, experts say. Companies in other states foot the bill for insurance fraud investigations by paying a specific tax or contributing to an industrywide pool of resources. Only Travis County looks to a single private firm to fund criminal cases like insurance fraud. And although their arrangement is supposed to fund cases that center on major fraud, the vast majority of Travis County cases target rank-and-file workers.