New Law Protects Businesses, Government Entities Victimized By Crime

HARRISBURG – A new state law will allow governments, non-profit organizations and businesses to collect restitution if they are victims of a crime, according to the author of the new law, Senator Pat Stefano (R-32). The bill was signed into law as Act 145 and goes into effect immediately.

Senate Bill 897 addresses a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling which found that governmental entities, nonprofits and businesses were not eligible for reimbursement when they are victimized and suffer losses. The Supreme Court ruled that only individuals could receive restitution, despite years of sentences imposing restitution in cases involving a business, non-profit group or government entity.

“When an individual steals from a business, non-profit or government, they are really stealing from employees, donors, ratepayers and taxpayers,” Stefano said. “I am thankful that this new law will ensure people who steal from these organizations are held accountable for their crimes.”

Stefano said he saw the need for this new law firsthand as a member of a joint sewage authority. The authority’s former executive was charged with embezzlement and ordered to pay a significant restitution to the authority.

“Ratepayers and taxpayers should never be left on the hook for money that is stolen from them,” Stefano said. “With this bill being signed into law, the financial responsibility for these crimes can be shifted back to the individual responsible for committing these crimes.”

Stefano thanked the coauthor of the bill, Senator Lisa Boscola (D-18) for her work in developing the legislation.

Contact: Ben Wren (717) 787-7175