An influential U.S. lawmaker is preparing legislation that would punish companies from China and elsewhere that use secrets stolen by cyber thieves.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., says he expects to introduce the measure, which would restrict visas for companies harboring hacked trade secrets, in April, the Financial Times reported late Thursday.

Though not specifically addressing China, Rogers told the publication the country's theft of business information through hacking is widespread. "We need to find ways make the consequences of this more significant than the gains," Rogers said.

The push follows a paper published in February by digital security firm Mandiant that outlines how hackers backed by the Chinese military have swiped trade secrets, business blueprints and network credentials from at least 141 companies in 20 industries in 15 countries, including financial firms.

The White House and intelligence officials have echoed these allegations. Chinese officials have denied the country's involvement.

Rogers' bill would be separate from legislation he and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., reintroduced in February that would encourage sharing of information between companies and government agencies about cyber threats.

Their bill tracks efforts by President Obama, who in February directed federal agencies to develop a framework that would enable the government and owners of financial firms, energy grids and other critical infrastructure to share information about cyber threats on a voluntary basis.