In an unprecedented move, the Utah Legislature has approved a measure to create the country’s first white-collar crime offender registry. Similar to convicted sex offenders registries, the measure calls for the publication of white-collar offenders’ names and aliases, a recent photograph, a physical description, and a list of their crimes.
Pointing to the trusting nature of the citizens of Utah as a reason for the measure, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes stated in a news release, “Utah’s unique personal interweavings and close relationships offer a rich environment for predatory behavior and financial crimes.” Lawmakers hope the bill will help prevent affinity fraud among the state’s close-knit residences and stop the exploitation of people’s beliefs.
The bill requires individuals convicted of second degree felony offenses, including securities fraud, mortgage fraud, and money laundering crimes, to “register” as offenders. Information on the offenders could stay on a state-run website for up to life, if the person is convicted of a third offence. However, offenders who provide full restitution may be removed from registry. Lawmakers hope that in addition to providing information to consumers to allow them to make informed financial decisions, the list will also encourage offenders to provide restitution to their victims.
The Governor of Utah has indicated that he will sign the bill to protect “the consumer and the public from fraud and predatory practices.”