Penalties for committing crimes

Most people think of the penalties from crime as involving prison and fines. But they go well beyond that and include lost professional licenses and lost retirement money. Blagojevich will lose his pension once he goes to prison, but the board wants to make sure that he doesn't get the money before he goes there. From the Chicago Tribune:

Convicted ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich will now have to clear a few more hurdles before he would even have a slight chance of collecting a $65,000-a-year state pension.

The General Assembly Retirement System board added the extra layer of scrutiny Wednesday with Blagojevich on the verge of turning 55 in December. That’s when he’s eligible to apply for a state pension.

The move came the same day the Illinois Supreme Court suspended Blagojevich from the practice of law “effective immediately and until further order” by the court. Blagojevich had not been known to even be practicing law, however, and losing his license upon conviction had long been expected.

Typically, a former lawmaker or statewide official would apply for a pension, and the checks start soon thereafter. The board would then review the pensions at a follow-up meeting and give final approval.

But on Wednesday, lawmakers on the pension board decided that any former lawmaker or statewide official convicted of a felony should get more scrutiny before the pension system begins cutting them checks. If Blagojevich applies for a pension, for example, the application would be frozen and the board would hold special meetings to consider it.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Orland Park, raised the Blagojevich issue because the impeached former governor will turn 55 before the panel had planned to meet next spring.

The issue also is complicated because Blagojevich has not been sentenced yet. The sentencing has been indefinitely postponed, and pension board lawmakers did not want to take a chance that Blagojevich would start cashing pension checks in the meantime. . . .

’s based in part on Illinois’ experience with convicted former Gov. George Ryan, who collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in pension before he went to prison. Ryan was making a pension worth nearly $200,000 a year when it was revoked.

Ryan left office and began collecting a pension immediately. Later, Ryan was indicted, convicted, and after a lengthy delay, sentenced. During that time, he collected $635,000 from Illinois taxpayers. . . .



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