August 2, 2017

Contact: Sen. Robert Cowles: (608) 266-0484

Act 54 Helps Wisconsin Catch Criminals at the Pump

MADISON- Today, 2017 Senate Bill 133 was signed into law, finishing the legislative process for a bill that saw strong, bipartisan support when it passed through the legislature in June. Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released this statement on 2017 Act 54:

“With the constant advance of technology, law enforcement and prosecutors sometimes lack the legal tools to stop modern crimes. Credit card skimmers are one of the latest major threats to consumer protection, as the skimmers are easy to obtain, easy to use, hard to identify, and hard to track. Dozens of communities have already felt the impact of these identity thieves, but Wisconsin’s criminal statutes have been lagging behind. Today, we changed that. Act 54 will ensure that law enforcement has the proper tools at their disposal to deter and prosecute criminals, and helps to ensure that consumers can be safer when they pay at the pump. 

“With the help of Attorney General Brad Schimel and a host of other stakeholders including law enforcement, prosecutors and gas station owners, we were able to identify the weaknesses in the current laws. Prosecutors and law enforcement were primarily restricted from prosecution unless the criminals retrieved personal or financial data from consumers. Now, law enforcement has the ability to address criminal activity for attempted use, possession with criminal intent, or trafficking of a skimmer. This bill would not have been possible without the help of my Co-Author Representative Rob Summerfield (R- Bloomer), a host of stakeholders, and my legislative colleagues who identified the ability of this legislation to address this threat.”

Act 54 enacts the following penalties: Class I felony for the possession of a skimmer with criminal intent carries the possibility of 3½ years in prison and fines up to $10,000; Class H felony for the trafficking of a skimmer carries the possibility of 6 years in prison and fines up to $10,000; Class H felony for the attempted use of a skimmer carries the possibility of up to 6 years in prison and fines up to $10,000, and; Class G felony for the theft of something of value from the use of a skimmer carries the possibility of 10 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.