STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION
Assemblyman DECLAN J. O'SCANLON, JR.
District 12 (Mercer and Monmouth)
Assemblywoman MARY PAT ANGELINI
District 11 (Monmouth)
Assemblywomen Handlin and Casagrande
Clarifies that retention of unearned wages by a public servant is theft under certain circumstances.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel
An Act concerning theft and amending N.J.S.2C:20-9.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. N.J.S. 2C:20-9 is amended to read as follows:
2C:20-9. Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of Property Received. A person who purposely obtains or retains property upon agreement or subject to a known legal obligation to make specified payment or other disposition, whether from such property or its proceeds or from his own property to be reserved in equivalent amount, is guilty of theft if he deals with the property obtained as his own and fails to make the required payment or disposition.
A public servant who, after he has resigned or been terminated from his position, purposely retains any unearned wages, intending to permanently deprive the public entity of such wages, after due notice from the public entity, is guilty of theft.
The foregoing applies notwithstanding that it may be impossible to identify particular property as belonging to the victim at the time of the actor's failure to make the required payment or disposition. An officer or employee of the government or of a financial institution is presumed: (a) to know any legal obligation relevant to his criminal liability under this section, and (b) to have dealt with the property as his own if he fails to pay or account upon lawful demand, or if an audit reveals a shortage or falsification of accounts. The fact that any payment or other disposition was made with a subsequently dishonored negotiable instrument shall constitute prima facie evidence of the actor's failure to make the required payment or disposition, and the trier of fact may draw a permissive inference therefrom that the actor did not intend to make the required payment or other disposition.
(cf: P.L.1987, c.76, s.32)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill would clarify that the crime of “theft by failure to make required deposition of property” includes the theft by a public servant who purposely retains unearned wages. Under the provisions of the bill, a public officer or employee who, after he has resigned or been terminated from his position, purposely retains any unearned wages intending to permanently deprive the public entity of such wages, after due notice from the public entity, shall be guilty of theft.
The crime of theft is graded according to the amount involved. Therefore, the amount of unearned wages involved would determine the charge. Theft is a crime of the second degree if the amount involved is $75,000 or more; a crime of the third degree if the amount involved exceeds $500 but is less than $75,000; and a crime of the fourth degree if the amount involved is at least $200 but does not exceed $500. If the amount involved was less than $200 the offense constitutes a disorderly persons offense.
Under current law, any public official who is convicted of certain crimes that involve or touch such office or employment, such as theft pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A.2C:20-9 when the amount exceeds $10,000, would be subject to a mandatory term of imprisonment. This recently enacted statute, P.L.2007, c.49 (C.2C:43-6.5) provides for the following terms of imprisonment without eligibility for parole: for a crime of the fourth degree, the mandatory minimum term shall be one year; for a crime of the third degree, two years; for a crime of the second degree, five years; and for a crime of the first degree, 10 years, unless the provisions of any other law provide for a higher mandatory minimum term.