COLUMBIA (WACH) - Three South Carolina Senators announced a bipartisan effort Monday to cut down on fraud in the state.
Senators Vincent Sheheen, (D) CAMDEN, JAKE KNOTTS, (R) Lexington and Gerald Malloy, (D) Hartsville introduced the South Carolina False Claims Act at the State House.
The law will allow citizens themselves to sue the government when companies and governments are wasting or defrauding tax payers TM dollars, said Senator Sheheen.
The senators hope to get the legislation passed next year. They say it empowers citizens and state employees to blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse by protecting them from retaliation. The bill also establishes a formula to reward them.
This is a major bill that will allow and assist law enforcement and prosecutors to follow up, find and prosecute and convict those people that are stealing the tax payer TMs dollars, said Senator Knotts.
Senator Malloy said It is incumbent upon the tax payer to step forward. We've got to give them protection. If something is going wrong in South Carolina, those people with boots on the ground need to be the ones that come forward.
According to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, in the past 12 years there have been 621 cases involving misuse of public funds, totaling about $24 million and the senators say there have been very few tools to prosecute those crimes. They say their bill, if passed, will change that.
To see what protections the bill would offer those who report corruption and fraud, click on the links below.