West Virginia Bill Makes Failing To Contribute To Pensions A Crime With Possible Jail TimeGary St. Fleur
The West Virginia state legislature saw a new bill that would in effect make it a criminal offense to fail to pay pension contributions. The bill forces public employers of retirement systems administered by the Consolidated Public Retirement Board (CPRB) to make required contributions or face the consequences.
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The bill allows the state auditor, county commission, and sheriff to withhold any money due to public employers participating in state or county pension systems.
The bill was sponsored mainly by Delegate Ron Walters (R), who also happens to be chair of the West Virginia House of Delegates Pension and Retirement Committee. Cosponsors for the bill were Delegates Bill Hamilton (R) and Cindy Frich (R).
Also, the bill also stipulates that any party that is required to provide benefits or wage supplements but fails to so within 30 days, will be guilty of a misdemeanor which carries a fine ranging from $100 to $500. Furthermore, The bill could impose prison time for violators. The reason for this being that the bill would deem violators as thieves stealing from the pension contributions. Any public official who is responsible for making sure that public entities comply with the applicable laws and provisions of a CPRB public pension plan, and fails to make contributions to the retirement plan, will be guilty of a form of larceny based on the dues owed. If the amount is $1000 or more, the official could be guilty of a felony which has a possible prison sentence of between one to ten years. Also, the culprit can be fined up to $2,500. If the amount is less than $1000, then the offender can face up to a year in prison in addition to receiving a fine of up to $2,500.