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Lobbyist Money Help  

Embezzlers to Pay Restitution to Victims

February 23, 1998
By: Astrid Greve
MDN Columbia Bureau

Missouri law providees that in case of embezzlement, paying money back to the victims is an option if the defendant is released on probation.

In case of parole, however, repayments are not required.

In 1996, an agent at Shelter Insurance in Columbia turned in false claims for supposedly damaged vehicles.

Joe Moseley is vice-president and general counsel at Shelter Insurance.

He says, "One of our agents was accused and convicted of fraud. He paid restitution before the case was closed, and he was eventually released on probation."

State Representative Chuck Graham wants to make sure that every victim of fraud or embezzlement gets their money back. Graham sponsored such a bill last year, it is now on the calendar again.

The Columbia Democrat says: "I want to make sure that in case of releasing a defendant on probation, restitution will have to be paid in any case, and in case of parole, that restitution assessment is an option."

Graham continues, "We are confident that the bill will pass this year. The only reason why it didn't pass last year was because we ran out of time."

It is common practice to assess compensation in case of probation. The agent at Shelter Insurance even repaid the company before the case was over.

For those released on parole, however, compensation doesn't apply.

Graham wants to make sure that at least smaller amounts will be paid to the victims. The bill would be an extra tool for prosecutors and judges in cases of embezzlement.

In Boone County, there have been several cases of embezzlement in the last few years. Shelter Insurance is just one example.

Graham says:"There is no opposition to the bill at this point of time that I know of. There was already great support for it last year, and this year again. Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane for example testified for it again at

the first hearing this year."

State Senator John Schneider did not have enough time last year to sign the bill, although Graham says he strongly favored it, too.

County Prosecutor Crane says that a similar bill already exists on the federal level. Embezzlers on federal parole possibly have to pay back resitutions.

Crane didn't know, however, if any other states have bills such as the one proposed in Missouri.

Graham's bill is on the calendar. Graham wants to keep the fiscal note at zero-dollars like last year.