This week, legislators in Utah passed a bill that will require the state to establish a new "Utah White Collar Crime Offender Registry." The New York Times reports that the Registry, which is similar in concept to the sex offender registries now in every state in the U.S., will be "the nation’s first white-collar offender registry, appending a scarlet letter of sorts on the state’s financial felons." A spokesman for Utah Governor Gary Herbert stated this week that Herbert intends to sign the bill into law to protect "the consumer and the public from fraud and predatory practices."
The bill defines the "Registerable offenses" for which one must register with the Office of the Attorney General to be a conviction for any of the following offenses as a second degree felony:
theft by deception;
unlawful dealing of property by fiduciary;
communications fraud; and
The bill further provides that offenders shall remain on the Registry for (a) a period of 10 years for a first offense; (b) a second period of 10 years for a second conviction; and (c) a lifetime period if convicted a third time. The Registry will maintain a recent photograph of the offender, as well as the offender's date of birth, height, weight, and eye and hair color.
The idea for the Registry reportedly came from Utah's Attorney General, Sean Reyes, who says that white collar crime has reached epidemic proportions in Utah. Reyes told The Salt Lake Tribune that the heavily-Mormon state of Utah is "sadly known for its high level of financial vulnerability to affinity fraud.... Utah's unique personal interweavings and close relationships offer a rich environment for predatory behavior and financial crimes in our state."