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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: August 21, 2017 04:01 PM
From: Senator Patrick J. Stefano and Sen. Lisa M. Boscola
To: All Senate members
Subject: Legislation to Expand the Restitution Law to Include Governmental Entities
In the near future, we plan to jointly introduce legislation which will expand the scope of restitution for victims to include government agencies, non-profits, corporations and other similar organizations. This expansion will enable these entities to receive restitution in instances where, for example, an act of theft, hacking, embezzlement or destruction of property has been perpetrated against them.

Under current statute, a victim is defined as an individual whom has suffered physical or mental injury, death or the loss of earnings. Due to a recent decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, governmental entities do not fit into the current definition of a victim, therefore entities such as local governments or businesses cannot be reimbursed in a case where, if the victim were an individual, it would be within the boundaries of the court to order restitution.

The consequences of this ruling have expanded across adjudicated cases across the Commonwealth, including one in which municipalities within the 18th Senatorial District were defrauded out of over $800,000. As lawmakers, our concern is making certain that when a political subdivision is a victim that the taxpayers can be made whole. It is those citizens that are collectively the losers if a governmental entity is the victim of a crime and are not eligible for restitution.

It is our intention to introduce legislation to correct the collateral damage that is accrued when restitution cannot be ordered or awarded to victims of serious crimes in Pennsylvania. The bill is being worked on with input from the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.
Thank you for your support in co-sponsoring this important legislation. If you have any questions on this matter, please contact Senator Stefano’s office at 787-7175, or Senator Boscola’s office at 787-4236.

Introduced as SB897