New Madigan-backed laws for 2013
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[January 02, 2013]
SPRINGFIELD -- New laws that
protect phone customers against bogus charges, crack down on tax
cheats and strengthen child sex offender registration requirements
are among measures that were initiated by Attorney General Lisa
Madigan in the 2012 legislative session and took effect Jan. 1.
"My office's legislative agenda this past year aimed to strengthen the law in
many areas," Madigan said. "With our efforts, Illinois became only the second
state in the country to ban phone cramming, establishing the state as a national
model. We also enhanced penalties for tax cheats and expanded the crimes for
which a child sex offender must register and comply with the statewide
Ban on cramming
House Bill 5211 bans "cramming," a practice whereby third-party vendors add
charges to phone bills for products or services that consumers or businesses
never requested -- and never used. In recent years, cramming has moved online as
consumers provided their phone number, among other personal information, for
supposed online prize drawings, surveys or free offers. Weeks or months later,
consumers would often find charges on their phone bill for unauthorized
services. Reports have shown that telephone companies place at least 300 million
third-party charges on their customers' bills each year. According to a U.S.
Senate Commerce Committee report, third-party billing generates at least $2
billion annually. With Madigan's measure going into effect, Illinois becomes
only the second state in the nation to ban phone bill cramming on landlines.
Sales tax evasion
House Bill 5289 adds a tool to the fight against tax fraud in Illinois by
creating the crime of sales tax evasion. The new law is the result of an ongoing
investigation of gas stations undertaken by Madigan and the Illinois Department
of Revenue to recoup sales taxes from hundreds of gas stations statewide that
underreported revenues to avoid paying taxes. The measure sets strong penalties
and allows for increased prosecutions of Illinois businesses and retailers that
willfully evade paying Illinois sales tax. The graduated penalties are based on
the amounts of sales taxes that were not paid: For sales tax evasion involving
less than $500, the law provides for a Class 4 felony punishable by one to three
years in prison; for amounts less than $10,000, a Class 3 felony punishable by
two to five years; for amounts less than $100,000, a Class 2 felony punishable
by three to seven years; and for more than $100,000, a Class 1 felony punishable
by four to 15 years in prison.
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House Bill 5280 expands the list of crimes that require an
offender to register with the statewide sex offender registry. The
new measure requires a convicted criminal to register as a sexual
predator upon a first conviction for the charge "luring of a minor."
Prior to House Bill 5280, registration was not required until after
the person was convicted of the charge a second time.
[Text from file received from the office
Illinois Attorney General Lisa