One of the top priorities of law enforcement over the past few years has been welfare fraud. Welfare fraud is known as a white-collar crime, and this type of crime is either performed by the person who is receiving the benefits or by the people who are working within the system.
There are many cases where welfare fraud will occur through identity theft. This happens when the welfare recipient’s information is being used by other people in order to receive cash or other forms of benefits.
Fraud is an unfortunate part of the numerous government assistance programs that are made available to many people. Every year, different government programs lose millions and billions of dollars due to fraud.
Some people may not understand that benefits under a variety of organizations can be classified as welfare. Fraud against any of the following government benefits will be classified as welfare fraud:
- TANF(Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
- SNAP(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
- WIC(Women, Infants and Children)
- Pell Grants
- Housing Assistance
Improper welfare payments made up a large sum of the money that has been lost over the years. What are improper welfare payments?
- There is no proper documentation that can support why a person is receiving the payments
- Payments that are not going to the correct person
- Payments that are going to the correct person, but that person is being underpaid or overpaid
- The person who is receiving cash or other benefits is not using those funds in the correct manner
When someone receives government benefits that he or she is not entitled to, that person may be arrested for committing welfare fraud. Government assistance programs are given based on specific requirements, and in order to receive those benefits, a recipient has to meet certain qualifications.
Some examples of welfare fraud are listed below:
- Lying about income, relationship status, children, residence, etc. in order to receive welfare
- Not disclosing all information on an application, especially the information that you know will disqualify you from receiving welfare or any other government benefit
What Role Does The Federal Government Have In This?
The government benefits that are received by benefits are managed by each state, but the funds that are given to the states are federal funds. When federal funds are not being managed correctly or if there are concerns of fraud, the federal government steps in and gets involved. When someone is tried in federal court for committing welfare fraud, that person can be sentenced to prison based on the federal guidelines.
What Are The Consequences?
When someone is penalized for committing welfare fraud, the sentencing will be based on how much money was received fraudulently. Welfare fraud can come with a punishment of being incarcerated, paying a steep fine, and being named as a convicted felon for committing welfare fraud.
Welfare fraud and related offenses are not brushed off by prosecutors; they are taken very seriously. If you ever get charged with welfare fraud or if you ever find out you are under an investigation, you will certainly need to call a Minnesota welfare fraud lawyer who has the experience and skills that are required to take on a case like yours.
If you are charged with welfare fraud, you will not simply be able to write a check for the amount that you owe. You can still be charged for committing fraud at the federal level. If you are under investigation or if you have already been charged with welfare fraud and you know you have not done anything, there are ways you can prove you have done no wrong.
If you are ready to team up with a welfare fraud lawyer who can take on your case and help you get your freedom back, do not hesitate to contact us today.