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Michigan Gov. Snyder Signs Bill to Collect Payment for Falsely Reporting a Crime

Law enforcement agencies want to crack down on "swatting," which involves falsely reporting crimes in progress from the Internet.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation this week to protect cities against false reports of crimes and other emergencies.

House Bill 5432, sponsored by state Rep. Pat Somerville, allows courts to require those convicted of falsely reporting a crime or medical emergency to reimburse the state or local government. The legislation protects against “swatting,” a new crime in which people use the Internet to report a crime in progress at a different location and alter the report to look like it’s coming from that spot. The FBI estimates each incident of “swatting” costs law enforcement $10,000 in misused resources.

The legislation is part of a three-bill package that also includes H.B. 5431, sponsored by state Rep. Kurt Heise, which makes false reporting of a crime or medical emergency illegal, and H.B. 5433, sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Cotter, which lays out the maximum terms of imprisonment. The bills will be Public Acts 330-332 of 2012.

“False crime reports unnecessarily risk the lives of emergency responders and waste valuable public resources,” Snyder said. “This legislation is an important component in ensuring the safety of all citizens.”

Visit www.legislature.mi.gov for more information on the bills.

Editor's note: This press release was submitted by Gov. Rick Snyder's office.

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