A proposed bill would go after those fraudulently seeking job-creation grants-and-loans from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. State Representative Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem) says, while fraud is already a crime, this bill specifies that defrauding WEDC would be a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and a $50,000 penalty for convictions.
Kerkman and Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) are seeking co-sponsors for the measure. It comes after a number of questions have been raised over how certain grants were obtained. “Whenever I work on fraud bills . . . I hope that we never have to use it,” said Kerkman, who has also worked on similar crackdowns on fraud against the state’s welfare-to-work program, medical assistance, and FoodShare benefits. “If there’s a case, and a time, there’s a tool in the toolbox for our district attorneys.”