In general, I’m becoming more and more reluctant to criminalize things since we are already awash in laws, but this one is probably due.
The state should consider criminal penalties for those who commit fraud when seeking taxpayer money from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., according to a key Republican lawmaker.
“I think we need to do something,” Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Salem, told the State Journal in an interview.
“Fraud is fraud. It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s against one program or another program. If you dupe the taxpayers out, we should give some tools either through an administrative way or through our local district attorneys who can prosecute,” she said.
Kerkman, co-chairwoman of a legislative committee set to review a recent state audit of the agency Wednesday, said she is working on a bill that would create criminal penalties for fraud in other areas of government such as intentional unemployment insurance fraud, of which there were 64,700 cases totaling $86.3 million between 2011 and 2014.
The difficulty will be proving fraud, but it always is.