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Rep. Les Fossel (R-Alna)
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For Immediate Release

Date: 02/22/12

Rep. Les Fossel proposes pension forfeiture law for violations of the public trust

House Republican Office

February 16, 2012

For more information:

Jay Finegan, 287-1445


AUGUSTA - Public employees convicted of felony-level crimes in connection with their work would stand to lose their pensions under legislation submitted recently by State Rep. Les Fossel. Those employees convicted of theft also would be required to make restitution.

The legislation, L.R. 2745, would put Maine in line with more than 15 other states that currently have pension forfeiture laws on their books.

"Violation of the public trust is a serious offense," said Rep. Fossel (R-Alna), a second-term legislator who serves on the Government Oversight Committee, the Health and Human Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee.

"My bill addresses crimes rated as Class C or greater, which bring incarceration of at least five years," he said. "Any public officer or employee found guilty of a job-related crime at that level could lose their pension, depending on the judgment of the court. The court would have discretion to make the final decision based on the facts of the crime itself. If it is egregious, the court would have the authority to order a forfeiture of the pension."

Under Maine criminal law, all crimes other than murder are designated as Class A, B, C, D or E. Based on the maximum terms of incarceration that they carry, Class D and E crimes are commonly referred to as misdemeanors, while Class A, B and C are referred to as felonies.

The bill permits a court to order the forfeiture of benefits of a public employee who is a member of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System. It would apply to individuals who are convicted of at least a Class C crime, as well as those who plead guilty or no contest to the charges. The only part of a pension the person would be allowed to retain would be the amount contributed by the member to the retirement system, without interest.

L.R 2745 also provides that amounts credited to the account of the retirement system member are available to pay any court-ordered restitution for economic loss suffered by the state or a political subdivision of the state as a result of the crime. ###

Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445