TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator John H. Adler which would criminalize misusing public resources by private and non-profit entities was signed into law today by Governor Jon Corzine.
“We’ve seen far too many people in and around government try to take advantage of the public trust,” said Senator Adler, D-Cherry Hill. “It upsets me that these people don’t know the difference between right and wrong. Today we let those in the private and non-profit sectors know that corruption will no longer be tolerated.”
Senator Adler’s bill, S-1192, sponsored with Senator Ellen Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer, would create the crime of corruption of public resources. The bill would make it a crime to knowingly misuse public grants, loans, assets or property for purposes other than the intended governmental purpose, and would establish a graduated penalty setup, depending on the value of the resource, and the intended purpose (see attached table). The bill also would impose criminal penalties for misrepresenting facts to a government agent or officer for the purpose of obtaining public resources.
“These crimes harm New Jersey residents in two ways. Not only are they stealing taxpayer money, but they are robbing other legitimate non-profit groups of the means to do their work,” added Senator Adler. “Unfortunately, when these cases come to light, the penalties under our current law are minimal. We must ratchet up our response to the criminal use of public tax dollars.”
Senator Adler said that this bill is part of a larger set of bills aimed at imposing serious financials and criminal penalties on those found guilty of corruption in connection with government work.
“We need to make sure that the penalties for public fraud and corruption are so severe that the risk is not worth it. We’ve already made it that corrupt individuals lose their public pensions and now we’re adding considerable jail time and fines. We’re no longer sitting idly by while criminals raid the public till,” explained Senator Adler.