Millions of people in this country are receiving financial assistance from the government in order to meet some of their everyday needs. Unfortunately, not everyone receives those benefits legally. There are many people who are receiving benefits they are not eligible to receive because they did not provide the truth on their applications for assistance.
A person can commit welfare fraud in a variety of ways, including reporting less income than the person actually makes in order to receive cash benefits, food benefits, medical benefits, subsidized housing, etc. A person can also make claims that he or she has more dependents than he or she actually has in order to receive more benefits or more money. A person can also receive benefits in another person’s name or by using another person’s information.
When someone collects benefits they are not eligible for or when they continue to receive benefits they are no longer eligible for, fraud is being committed. Those who commit welfare fraud will be expected to return the funds they received, and they will also likely face criminal convictions.
When anyone fails to disclose information that is important in making a determination as to whether or not a person is qualified for public assistance, that person has committed a crime. If a person receives welfare assistance in the beginning and fails to disclose changes about their circumstances that will result in them not being eligible to continue receiving the benefits, this person has also committed a crime.
Welfare fraud will be seen as a theft-related criminal offense, and just as with any offense that is related to theft, the conviction will have an impact on your life for many years. It can make it difficult for you when you try to get a job, when you try to establish credit, and even when you try to rent a home or an apartment.
You can also be required to pay the money you owe, and this will usually be combined with high interest and high penalties. If you are convicted of welfare fraud in Minnesota, you can also be faced with time in jail or time in prison. The punishment you receive will depend on whether you have been given a felony charge or a misdemeanor charge.
If you been arrested for welfare fraud in Minnesota or if you are under investigation for fraudulent welfare activity, you should hire an experienced Minnesota welfare fraud lawyer. If you are not sure if you are being investigated, we want you to remember the following signs. These are a few signs that you are likely being investigated:
- Have you been contacted by the Public Assistance department or the department that issues you the benefits you have been receiving?
- Has anyone questioned you about the welfare benefits you have been receiving? Has a representative shown up at your home?
- Have you received any notifications or documents in the mail about an investigation?
- Have you been asked to send additional information?
There are times when a person does not intentionally provide false information, but a welfare worker believes that fraud was committed intentionally. If an investigation takes place, the person should ask for documents and other information regarding the investigation so they can understand why an investigation is taking place. The person should also contact a Minnesota welfare fraud lawyer so they can take the right steps.
Committing welfare fraud is not a crime that should be taken lightly. If you are convicted of welfare fraud, you will face serious consequences that will impact you during the rest of your life. If you want to receive help because you have been accused of committing welfare fraud, do not hesitate to contact us today for a consultation.
Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact Jennifer Speas to discuss the specifics of your case.