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State lawmakers propose crackdown on payroll fraud

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Legislation introduced in Lansing on Thursday would increase penalties on businesses that commit payroll fraud.

The sponsors claim the current system allows crooked companies to steal millions of dollars owed workers in wages and overtime pay.

State Representative Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) says these proposals are needed to protect businesses, not just workers.

“Bad actors that refuse to pay their workers full wages and overtime, and dodge taxes the rest of us pay, should not be allowed to undercut legitimate businesses and their employees,” says Manoogian.

Attorney General Dana Nessel says "white collar crime" should not be punished differently from other forms of crime.

“It ought to be punished exactly the same as every other kind of crime. Stealing is stealing is stealing, and that’s the message we want to send today,” says Nessel.

The bill package has the backing of Democratic state lawmakers and labor unions.

It faces an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.