A charge of welfare fraud in Minnesota is serious. If you have been charged with this crime or are concerned you may be, then securing a criminal defense attorney will minimize the impact.
Just what is welfare fraud?
Welfare fraud can be broken down into 3 main categories:
This includes obtaining welfare through false means such as misreporting your information on the application, not disclosing your entire income, selling your EBT card, or using someone else’s medical card. In addition, if you share any of your cards with someone else, you are committing recipient fraud too.
Child care provider fraud
This law applies to those who are registered to provide childcare for the state of Minnesota. Reporting false hours of employment, false time sheets, or lying about childcare services is fraudulent.
Health care provider fraud
If you provide healthcare services and send in false claims about services then you will be liable for welfare fraud. You also must be sure the time sheets and hours reported are accurate.
What are the penalties for welfare fraud?
The penalties for welfare fraud range in severity. Several factors play a part in what type of penalty a person receives. Some of the factors taken into consideration include:
- Is this a first offense or has there been other offenses?
- How much were the cost of benefits that were stolen?
- Does the person have a past criminal history?
Depending on the answers to these questions, potential penalties include:
Loss of benefits:
A person can lose benefits anywhere from 10 years to permanently based on how many welfare fraud offenses they have.
A person charged and convicted of welfare fraud in Minnesota may potentially have fines up to $20,000. This includes the restitution for the amount the state was defrauded. According to one source, that amount is unlikely but there will be fines.
A person may have to spend time in jail if the fraud is deemed a felony and not a misdemeanor. Any amount of theft over $1000 is classified as a felony. Under that is a misdemeanor. Again, the jail time varies depending on the person’s history, the severity of the abuse, and whether a plea agreement can be reached. The jail time for a felony begins at one year and goes up from there.
If you are facing welfare fraud charges, your next steps in the process are critical. First, you will want to contact a successful criminal defense attorney to represent you. Having someone familiar with the welfare laws of Minnesota will provide a strong defense for you. An attorney may be able to negotiate a deal for you before you even go to the court making the entire process more bearable. Make sure to let your attorney know the details of what happened. Be open and forthright with your attorney so that he or she can best serve your interests. If you keep something hidden from your attorney and it is revealed during the hearing, then your attorney won’t be prepared to answer. It is better to know all the details up front than to have them come out in the middle of the trial. A seasoned attorney will guide you through the process of dealing with welfare fraud charges and help minimize the penalties.
If you are in a situation of facing charges for welfare fraud, Contact Speas Law Firm for an experienced attorney you can trust. Jennifer Speas is a recognized attorney with over 20 years of experience fighting a wide variety of criminal cases. Connect with Speas Law Firm today for a free 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.