Bill Updates Penalties for Business Crimes

Lawmakers in Olympia took a big step Thursday toward beefing up penalties for corporate crime for the first time in nearly 100 years. Dan Frizzle from the Washington State House Democratic Caucus reports:

Under current law, if you’re convicted of a class A felony you’re looking at life without parole and a $50,000 fine.  A corporation guilty of the same crime faces a maximum fine of $10,000 . . . and that’s all.  The penalties for business crime date back to 1925, but that could change soon. The state House voted unanimously Thursday for a bill designed to punish white-collar crime with more than a slap on the wrist.  Democratic state Representative Mike Pellicciotti, a former prosecutor from Federal Way who spent a decade targeting corporate fraud in the courtroom, sponsored the legislation.

PELLICCIOTTI: “It’s completely unacceptable that these statutes have not been updated since 1925, before this legislative building was even built.  It’s time for these statutes to catch up with the times.  My corporate crime act is going to finally allow corporations to be held accountable in a way similar to if any one of us committed that same offense.”

Pellicciotti’s bill establishes a new fine schedule ranging from $50,000 for misdemeanors up to a million dollars for a class A felony. The bill now moves to the Senate for further consideration. In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.