TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator John H. Adler which would criminalize misusing public resources was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 37-0.
“For far too long, greedy people have gotten rich by wasting public resources,” said Senator Adler, D-Cherry Hill, the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Fraud and public corruption have increased the cost of services and caused ever higher taxes for honest taxpayers. We need tougher laws to penalize those who abuse the public trust.”
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.
“Time after time, public grants and loans have been diverted for illegal gain,” said Senator Adler. “New Jersey awards millions in grants and low-interest loans to worthy public projects, but when someone abuses the system, the penalties are minimal. This bill applies proper penalties when the public is defrauded by unscrupulous individuals.”
The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.