BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The New York State White Collar Crime Task Force is working to change sophisticated crime laws, including laws uprooting public corruption.
Former Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark says white collar crime laws in New York State have not kept up with the times and are decades old.
"With the governor's power behind it, it's not just another group of people set together to tell us what their opinions are," Clark said. "We have so many things that have changed the way we communicate. And when you change the way you communicate, you change the way you commit crimes."
Under the panel's recommendations:
Public servants would have to disclose "secret interests in government business."
Bribery charges would be upgraded, making it easier to prosecute people trying to influence those in power.
Prison sentences would also be upgraded for those abusing public trust.
"If we see those things being prosecuted more often, and penalties being imposed on those people that are more severe, I think that number one it acts as a deterrent and number two, it lets the public know that we're paying attention to what's going on," Clark said.
The former DA says right now, it's hard to stop those crimes using the laws currently on the books.
"The way crimes are punished and the amount of punishment definitely need to be looked at and loopholes, loopholes exist everywhere. We know where they are, let's do something to close them," Clark said.
The panel also proposes expanding existing cybercrime law to prosecute more computer hackers using felony charges. Right now, most could only be charged with misdemeanors.
Elder fraud laws are also recommended for upgrade, which is significant given New York State has the third largest older population nationwide.
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