- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Legislature’s budget committee has imposed stiffer civil penalties for unemployment fraud but scrapped plans to create harsher criminal penalties.

Right now penalties include losing eligibility, a surcharge equal to 15 percent of the benefits erroneously paid, criminal fines ranging from $100 to $500 and up to 90 days in jail.

Gov. Scott Walker’s budget calls for upping the surcharge to 40 percent and creating a scale of criminal penalties ranging from a $10,000 fine and up to nine months in jail to $25,000 in fines and up to five years in prison.

Committee Republicans released a plan Wednesday that adopts the surcharge increase but rejects the criminal penalty changes. The committee voted 12-4 to insert the proposal in the budget Wednesday evening.

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