Food stamp fraud is one of the easiest government frauds to commit because of the details of the information that is required on the application. There are a few different ways you can modify the details on your application in order to receive benefits or in order to receive more benefits than you are supposed to receive. If you receive information that you have been charged with food stamp fraud, then you can contact an attorney who can offer assistance in gathering information to present a defense for your actions or to try to reduce your sentence.
Any time that you submit information that is not true on your food stamp application, you have committed fraud in the eyes of the state. One of the most common ways that people commit this type of fraud is by listing income that is less than what the household really has in order to get more benefits. You could also list more people who live in the household than are really there to get more benefits each month. If you begin working or begin making more money for any reason and don’t report this increase in income, then you can be charged with fraud. You will usually need to submit a review application every six months so that the social services department can examine your household information. Many states require food stamp recipients to work at least a minimal number of hours, but if you work more hours and don’t report these details, then you would be committing a fraudulent act.
Another common example involves a couple who live together and apply for benefits. They could be denied food stamp benefits because they make too much money together. However, they could report that they have separated with one person completing the application in order to receive food stamps. This person would fail to disclose that the other person is still living in the home and contributing to the household finances. Until the couple does legally divorce, then the income of the couple should be combined. This is one way that many people believe they can get around the government system and commit fraud against the food stamp program.
If the state suspects that you are committing some type of food stamp fraud or has enough information to accuse you of fraud, then you will usually be sent a letter so that you can explain your situation and to submit the proper information to the office. Once this information is received, then the decision will rest with the state office as to whether you would be charged with fraud or not. Sometimes, you will need to complete an interview with your caseworker to go over the details of your case. If it’s discovered that you did commit fraud, then you could be arrested or could be asked to go to court to defend yourself against your actions.
An attorney can be beneficial so that you have someone who understands the laws surrounding food stamps and fraud. Your attorney can help you gather the paperwork that you need to take to court and offer a defense about why you committed the fraudulent act. Sometimes, you might leave off information by mistake, and if this was the case, then your attorney can assist in delivering these details to the court. If you are found guilty of food stamp fraud, then you could face several months in jail and be denied these benefits in the future. You could also be ordered to pay back the amount that you’ve received while the fraud took place. It is important that you always submit truthful information on an application so that you aren’t suspected of this crime.
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