TRENTON – People who prey on New Jersey residents adversely affected by natural disasters could face stricter penalties under the law, according to proposed legislation making its way through the Assembly.
Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, (R-13), is sponsoring a bill that would bulk up penalties for certain crimes committed following natural disasters. The bill, A3844, aims to deter people from engaging in unscrupulous behavior by making the penalties not worth the crime, she said.
“It’s incumbent on the rest of us to be vigilant and to ensure that our law enforcement officials have the tools that they need to go after these parasites,” Handlin said.
“My district includes some of the towns that were hardest hit by Sandy,” she said. “Unfortunately, the trauma continues.”
The bill proposes doubling penalties when contractors victimize clients during states of emergency. The proposal comes in response to reports of people being victimized by contractors in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
“[People] are going to look for ways to get in on the action,” she said. “[Residents] want assurances that state government is getting out ahead of these people who would otherwise stay up at night cooking schemes.”