Bill cracks down on retirement fund embezzlement

A new bipartisan bill aims to crack down on fraud in federal retirement benefits.

Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) will introduce the Representative Payee Fraud Prevention Act of 2015 Monday.

Under the bill, attorneys would have authority to prosecute representatives and caretakers who steal funds from retirees. The bill applies to both the Federal Employees Retirement and Civil Service Retirement systems.

“It’s important that the Federal Employees Retirement System and Civil Service Retirement System work as intended for federal employees and are protected from fraud,” said Lankford, in a statement. “Sadly, caretaker misuse of these benefit payments is becoming more prevalent. The Representative Payee Fraud Prevention Act of 2015 gives U.S. Attorneys the statutory authority to prosecute those who steal funds of retirees. Many government workers devote their lives to public service – we must fight the embezzlement of their benefits to ensure a more reliable retirement for them and their families.”

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The bill classifies theft of federal retirement funds as a felony. Embezzling from Social Security funds and veterans’ benefits is already classified as a felony.

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