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Lawmakers reintroduce bill to make WEDC fraud a felony

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin lawmakers have reintroduced a bipartisan proposal making it a felony to defraud the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the bill would make defrauding the state’s flagship job-creation agency a Class E felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and five years of extended supervision and a $50,000 fine, or both. Offenders and their companies would also be ineligible for agency benefits for seven years and could be liable for damages.

A similar bill last session failed to receive a hearing in a Senate committee.

The problem came to light in May 2015 after a State Journal investigation revealed the agency gave a questionable $500,000 taxpayer loan to a struggling company owned by a top campaign contributor to Gov. Scott Walker.

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