Welfare fraud is an extremely serious crime that can lead to severe penalties depending on the specific circumstances in your case. Welfare typically applies to the relief or benefits that are paid to those who need it, such as those who have a dire financial situation, those who are on disability, and much more. Two different types of welfare are the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Payments for welfare come out of public coffers funded by tax revenues and absolutely, under no circumstance, must be false. This means that, if somebody lies about their need or entitlement to welfare, they are engaging in welfare fraud. Often times people will lie about marital status, the need for money, or their living situation.
Here is an example of this situation: Say that a woman’s husband leaves her and her children. She gets ahold of the government about her situation and they increase her food stamps so that she can get on with her living situation. However, after six months her husband returns and they get back together – though the woman never alerts welfare to the fact. If the Department of Social Welfare finds out about this and realizes that she never updated her information, she could be prosecuted. The second income will generally mean that the welfare would be reduced.
What Are the Laws that Punish Welfare Fraud?
- Theft: Theft involving money is not just taking money away from somebody through stealing directly out of their hands. If somebody is receiving money through false pretenses, they could be convicted of theft. This can include those who lie on welfare applications.
- Perjury: At the end of the welfare application, you are prompted to sign your name under oath that the information you provided is true to the best of your knowledge. This means, if you have knowingly made false statements, then you could not only lose out on the chance to receive welfare but also be penalized for making these statements within.
You should always understand that repayment is not a defense to welfare fraud. In the case mentioned earlier about the wife, the court would reject an offer like this and will find the woman guilty of the crime. The only way that you can fight this in court is to either defend your innocence or secure a possible plea deal by repaying all to the state. However, do not count on this working. You should always retain a defense attorney to help you with your case. Conviction and fines related to your case could be instilled.
Do you have questions about welfare fraud or believe that it is in your best interest to have an attorney on your side after committing a crime? Then give us a call today to find out how we can assist you in your time of need. Call The Law Office of Peter Blair for more information on your case today!