(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine praised today's passage by the Ohio House of Representatives of new legislation that will strengthen his ability to go after cyber fraud and assist in prosecutions. State Sen. Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park) sponsored SB 223 and Rep. Ross McGregor (R-Springfield) sponsored companion legislation.
"This is great news for Ohioans and bad news for those who try to steal from them," said Attorney General DeWine. "The Ohio legislature is working to make it tougher for scammers to ply their dishonest trade and easier for us to go after them."
The cyber fraud legislation will give Attorney General DeWine the authority to subpoena the phone records, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, and payment information in suspected cyber fraud cases and prepare them for prosecution by a county or special prosecutor. The legislation will enable the Attorney General's Office to better assist local law enforcement with any investigation.
Cyber fraud is a form of telecommunications fraud or wire fraud, where the theft or scam occurs by electronic communication. Cyber fraud has been advanced by scammers using e-commerce websites such as eBay and Craigslist, social media platforms such as Facebook, or phone scams to pose as family members or telemarketers.
Cyber fraud's complexity makes it difficult to investigate and taxes the resources of most local law enforcement agencies. Further hindering local investigations is that cyber fraud is commonly reported to state and federal agencies rather than local law enforcement.
The legislation will complement efforts started last year by Attorney General DeWine when he created the Attorney General's Economic Crimes Division, which conducts criminal investigations within the Consumer Protection Section. After only two such cases were prosecuted in 2010, the new division has assisted in investigations leading to 11 suspects being charged with felonies for committing crimes against consumers. The division also has numerous investigations pending.
Consumers who believe they may have been a victim of cyber fraud should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or by calling 800-282-0515.
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840