State Auditor pushes stronger punishments in Iowa for embezzlement, as bills begin being prefilled

Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley gets a standing ovation after taking the oath of office on the...
Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley gets a standing ovation after taking the oath of office on the opening day of the Iowa Legislature, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 9:54 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand wants the legislature to increase the punishment for public employees or public officials caught embezzling more than $10,000.

It’s one of the eight bills prefiled for Iowa’s legislative session, which begins January 10. The auditor’s office has pre-filed three bills so far, the most of any agency. Lawmakers have the option to adopt these bills presented by state agencies or modify the recommendation with their own bill.

Two of three bills prefiled by the State Auditor’s Office include changes to embezzlement practices. The other bill would public entities to involve his office when investigating embezzlement.

Rob Sand (D), who is the State Auditor, said his office regularly sees government employees caught stealing taxpayer dollars get no time in prison. He said he’s tired of courts and laws not punishing those more severely.

“Someone steals a huge amount of money from taxpayers and gets a slap on the wrist,” Sand said. “Probation, they never serve a day and I would like to see that changed, if you steal a lot of public money you deserve to spend some time in prison.”

The proposed law doesn’t have a minimum sentence on purpose. He believes some jail time would act as a stronger deterrent than the sentencing time.

The certainty of the consequence is actually a bigger deterrent than the lump amount of time that you will serve,” Sand said. “Because in Iowa right now there is no certainty of any consequence at all. We’re not deterring people from stealing money.”

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