Assembly OKs bill to make defrauding WEDC a felony

MADISON — The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a bill that would make defrauding the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation a felony.

The bipartisan bill comes after reports that the job creation agency granted taxpayer loans to at least two companies that made false statements on their applications.

Under the bill, defrauding the agency would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $50,000 in fines. The legislation prohibits making false statements on applications for WEDC grants, loans, tax breaks or other benefits.

Current law prohibits fraud but doesn't include provisions specific to WEDC.

The Assembly passed the bill on a voice vote Tuesday, February 16th. It goes next to the Senate.