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SENATE DOCKET, NO. 108         FILED ON: 1/11/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 640

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Gale D. Candaras

_______________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act punishing the exploitation of emergency or major disaster victims.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Gale D. Candaras

First Hampden and Hampshire

Bruce E. Tarr

First Essex and Middlesex


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 108        FILED ON: 1/11/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 640

By Ms. Candaras, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 640) of Gale D. Candaras and Bruce E. Tarr for legislation relative to the exploitation of emergency or major disaster victims.  The Judiciary. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

_______________

 

An Act punishing the exploitation of emergency or major disaster victims.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

                             Chapter 266 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 33A the following section:-

                             Section 33B.  (a)   For the purposes of this subsection, the following words shall have the following meaning:

                             “Benefit”, any record, voucher, payment, good, service, right, privilege, money or thing of value provided by the United States, a state or local government or other entity.

                           “Declared emergency or disaster”, an event or serious of events, subsequent, during or in advance thereof, which precipitated a gubernatorial proclamation of a state of emergency pursuant to 639 of the acts of 1950 or a presidential declaration pursuant to Title IV or Title V of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§401, et seq. and §§501, et seq.

                           “Emergency or disaster area”, an area subject to a proclamation issued by the governor pursuant to chapter 639 of the acts of 1950 or an area subject to a presidential declaration pursuant to Title IV or Title V of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§401, et seq. and §§501, et seq.

                             “Emergency or major disaster assistance benefit”, any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed or paid pursuant to chapter 639 of the acts of 1950 or Title IV or Title V of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§401, et seq. and §§501, et seq.

                            “Property”  that which is the subject of the larceny or conversion and which shall bear a nexus to the declared disaster or emergency and may include money or other thing of value to purchase a service; provided, however, that such service shall bear a nexus to the declared disaster or emergency. 

                            “Victim”, a person who, as the proximate cause of a declared emergency or disaster, suffered property loss or physical injury or the parent, guardian or caretaker of a person who, as the proximate cause of a declared emergency or disaster, suffered physical injury.

                           (b)  Whoever  steals, or with intent to defraud obtains by a false pretense, or whoever unlawfully, and with intent to steal or embezzle, converts, secretes, unlawfully takes, carries away or conceals any emergency or major disaster assistance benefit, regardless of value, whether such emergency or major disaster assistance benefit is, or is not, in his possession at the time of such conversion or secreting, shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2½ years or in state prison for not more than 30 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment.

                         (c) (i)  Whoever steals, or with intent to defraud obtains by a false pretense, property of a victim during the period commencing on the first day the declared emergency or disaster was in effect to 90 days from the date the declared emergency or disaster expires, inclusive, whether such property is, or is not, in his possession at the time of such conversion or secreting shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2½ years or in state prison for not more than 30 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment.

              (ii) Whoever unlawfully, and with intent to steal or embezzle, converts, secretes, unlawfully takes, carries away or conceals property of a victim during the period commencing on the first day the declared emergency or disaster was in effect to 90 days from the date the declared emergency or disaster expires, inclusive, whether such property is, or is not, in his possession at the time of such conversion or secreting shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2½ years or in state prison for not more than 30 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment.

                          (d)  (i) Whoever: (1) with the intent to exploit a victim, steals, or with intent to defraud obtains by a false pretense, property of a victim  during the period commencing 91 days from the date the declared emergency or disaster expires to  3 years from the date the declared emergency or disaster expires, inclusive, whether such property is, or is not, in his possession at the time of such conversion or secreting shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2½ years or in state prison for not more than 30 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment.

              (ii) Whoever: (1) with the intent to exploit a victim, unlawfully, and with intent to steal or embezzle, converts, secretes, unlawfully takes, carries away or conceals property of a victim during the period commencing 91 days from the date the declared emergency or disaster expires to 3 years from the date the declared emergency or disaster expires, inclusive, shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2½ years or in state prison for not more than 30 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment.

                          (f)  Whoever violates this section and such violation was committed by means of the provision of services, or the failure to provide services, for which such violator is licensed, the licensing authority thereof may suspend or revoke such license in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed by this statute.

                           (g)(1)   Any contractor or subcontractor who violates this section shall be prohibited from contracting, directly or indirectly, with the commonwealth or any of its agencies or political subdivisions for the construction of any public building or other public works, or from performing any work on the same as a contractor or subcontractor, for a period of 5 years from the date of such conviction.

              (2)  Any person aggrieved by an order issued pursuant to this subsection may appeal such order by filing a notice of appeal with the division of administrative law appeals within 10 days of the receipt of the order. Any such appellant shall be granted a hearing before the division of administrative law appeals in accordance with chapter 30A. The hearing officer may affirm or if the aggrieved person demonstrates by a preponderance of evidence that the order was erroneously issued, vacate, or modify the order. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the hearing officer may file an appeal in the superior court pursuant to said chapter 30A.

              (3) If the decision of the hearing officer of the division of administrative law appeals is to debar or suspend an employer, such suspension or debarment shall not take effect until 30 days after the issuance of such order; provided, however, that the employer shall not bid on the construction of any public work or building during the aforementioned 30 day period unless the superior court temporarily enjoins the order of debarment or suspension.

              (4)  After final conviction and disposition of a violation of this section in any court, the clerk of such court shall send a notice of such conviction to the attorney general, who shall publish written notice to all departments and agencies of the commonwealth which contract for public construction and to the appropriate authorities of counties, authorities, cities and towns that such person is prohibited from contracting, directly or indirectly, with the commonwealth or any of its authorities or political subdivisions for the period of time required under this subsection. The attorney general may take such action as may be necessary to enforce the provisions of this subsection, and the superior court shall have jurisdiction to enjoin or invalidate any contract award made in violation of this subsection.

                           ( h)  A complaint or indictment  issued for a violation of this section may be issued in any county wherein the defendant had possession of the property alleged to have been stolen or in the county where the work was performed or in the county where the employer, contractor, or subcontractor has a principal place of business. In the case of an employer, contractor, or subcontractor who has his principal place of business outside the commonwealth, a complaint or indictment may be sought either in the county wherein the work was performed or in Suffolk county.

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