The state is getting a new tool to fight securities fraud. The proposed new law is borne out of the investigations of major national financial scandals in the last couple of years and the efforts of some of those involved in them to hide or destroy evidence. The legislature has approved a new law saying anybody convicted of impeding an investigation into securities fraud and other misbehaviors in the financial markets can be set to prison for as long as 10 years and fined as much as one-half million dollars. Senate Sponsor Matt Bartle (R-Lee’s Summit) says it’s a reform for the times. Bartle calls the nation’s securities markets “one of the freshest gems of our country.” He says the world relies on America’s financial markets, and they are under attack from all quarters. The local prosecuting attorney would get first crack at those who try to hide fraud. If the prosecutor can’t do it, or won’t, the Attorney General gets jurisdiction. The bill originally gave first jurisdiction to the Attorney General but was changed because some senators oppose giving the Attorney General more authority to instigate prosecutions. The governor is being asked to sign the bill.
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