Rep. Wheeler: Stiffen penalties for nonprofit theft

NORTH AURORA – State Representative Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) has filed new legislation to increase criminal penalties for those convicted of theft from a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization, signaling a commitment to protect the integrity of private funds that support a wide variety of charitable causes who provide services to individuals and families of need within communities throughout Illinois.

The legislation, House Bill 6599, would increase the punishment for those that steal from a nonprofit organization.  The increased penalties would allow judges to sentence offenders to up to 30 years in prison for thefts from nonprofits of more than $500,000.  

“We need to stiffen the criminal penalties for anyone convicted of misusing funds or in any way stealing from a nonprofit organization,” Representative Wheeler said. “These nonprofits do so much incredible and important work in the community, serving those who fall through the cracks of inefficient and impersonal government programs. We need to protect the integrity of the generous local donations that fund these organizations as well as honor the many unpaid volunteers who make these community service organizations viable.”

Having just been filed, House Bill 6599 awaits assignment to the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee.

The legislation is supported by locally by Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon and Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis, respectively.

“Many nonprofit organizations provide valuable and often critical services to at-risk members of the community. Given the belt-tightening at all levels of government and the decrease of services and resources from government agencies, nonprofits can ill afford to be without resources. This law would serve as a deterrent to anyone who might consider stealing from a nonprofit organization,”
Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said.

“Thefts from nonprofits can have a profound and devastating effect on the community they serve.” State’s Attorney Weis said. “Increasing the penalty under state law for those convicted of theft against a nonprofit would send a clear message that we will protect these community organizations, their volunteers and donors from any stealing of their funds.”

For questions or more information, please contact Representative Wheeler’s North Aurora district office at (630) 345-3464.

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