White collar crime registry proposed to skeptical lawmakers

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AUGUSTA — Lawmakers reacted skeptically Monday to a proposal to create a registry of white collar criminals.

The measure, proposed by Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio, D-Sanford, would require the state to create an online, public list of offenders who have committed committed fraud or theft.

They would remain on the list for 10 years to life depending on what crimes they committed.

Mastraccio told a Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee hearing she knows “a lot of people don’t like registries” for a variety of reasons but she thinks the one she seeks would give senior citizens in particular a place to check up on people who may prey on them.

Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, said the idea is a good one but implementing it would likely pose “a huge obstacle” given the state’s experience with its sex offender registry.

Diamond said Maine has had “a horrendous struggle” for two decades trying to comply with a federal requirement to have the online sex offender registry. It keeps running afoul of constitutional issues and other legal entanglements, he said.

“We’re so bad at it with the state of Maine,” Diamond said.

But Mastraccio said Utah has had an online white collar criminal registry for a year that Maine ought to be able to copy.

She said that as she scanned it recently she worried that perhaps some of the offenders listed there were now in Maine cheating seniors without anyone knowing.

Rep. Patrick Corey, R-Windham, pointed out that there’s nothing in her bill that would land a Utah offender on Maine’s white collar criminal list so she still wouldn’t know.

“I don’t think it’s going to be an easy thing to do” to get it all right, Mastraccio said.

A work session on the measure has yet to be scheduled.

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