COLUMBUS—State Senator Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) today announced the Senate passage of legislation that will take steps to protect Ohioans from dishonest and corrupt public officials. Since 2010, roughly 135 former public officials have received criminal convictions for stealing taxpayer dollars, also known as theft in office. The proposed legislation would increase theft in office penalties to better reflect the high standards of the public position they hold.
"The people of Ohio place their trust and faith in public officials," said Wilson. "This bill ensures that those who use a position of trust to steal taxpayer money are held proportionately responsible for their actions."
Currently, penalties for theft in office are capped at a third degree felony for all amounts of loss greater than $7,500. This legislation will increase the penalties to an F-2 for stolen amounts between $150,000 and $750,000 and an F-1 for amounts of loss greater than $750,000.
The legislation would also maintain that anyone who is found guilty of theft in office would be disqualified from holding any future public office, employment or position of trust in the state. In addition to stricter punishments, the bill would explicitly permit the cost of a public audit used to determine the amount of loss to be ordered as part of restitution when the victim is a public entity.
Senate Bill 268 will now go to the House for further consideration.