Welfare fraud is one of the most committed crimes in American, yet many get by month after month without being caught. However, law enforcement has made welfare fraud a top priority in the past decade. Typically, these types of white-collar crimes are often committed by recipients of the welfare system or by an employee that has access to the computers at a local government operation. Some cases involve the use of identity theft to receive benefits. People can steal the identity of someone who qualifies and use their data to collect benefits or cash.
When a person is suspected of welfare fraud, law enforcement will work the case gathering evidence. They use search warrants along with documents they have seized to file official charges. Those convicted of welfare fraud can face significant prison time, and there will be hefty fines that come along with the criminal record. If you live in the Queens area and you have been charged with a welfare crime, then you need to contact a lawyer immediately. You want an attorney that has handled these types of cases before and knows how to present the proper defense. It can mean the difference in going to jail or doing community service.
Understanding Welfare Fraud
How does this type of fraud occur? Well, some people commit a crime without even realizing it, and this is the case for welfare fraud. If you don’t declare all household income, or you have assets that you don’t report, then you can be convicted. You may not be purposely trying to defraud the government, but you just had a lapse in judgment or forgot.
To receive benefits, you must declare all assets and income, and all recipients must sign a perjury statement. Since things change frequently, you may have additional income that you didn’t report. Technically, if you get a new vehicle, sell a property or an automobile, you must notify the agency about these changes within 30 days. Any change not reported within an appropriate amount of time is fraudulent in the eyes of the law, and it can lead to charges of welfare fraud.
Being Convicted of Welfare Fraud
Convicting a person of welfare fraud is a complicated process. Many cases we handle in Queens is due to a child that has moved from the home, and the agency wasn’t notified. The parents continue to collect benefits even though they no longer live with them. Also, we see a lot of people that have job changes that affect their income and they fail to report those additional monies.
Other things that must be reported include alimony, child support, adoption subsidies and any changes in the number of people in the household. The state of New York may file welfare charges, but they can also file perjury charges for lying also. Receiving benefits that a person is not entitled too is a serious crime.
When it comes to fraud committed welfare employees in the Queens area, they are always prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The District Attorney’s office usually handles these cases. The prosecutor will file at least one perjury count as well as seeking jail or prison time, putting you on probation, assigning community service, and placing a permanent ban on ever receiving welfare benefits.
Getting Legal Help to Avoid Jail/Prison Time
If you are under investigation or have been charged with welfare fraud, time is of the essence. You need an experienced attorney that knows how to defend you. Many times, these cases can be resolved without you spending any time in jail. With extensive knowledge of the legal system, our team has relationships with people in law enforcement and the court circuit.
We can make deals and try to negotiate the charges. While there are no guarantees until we examine your case, we have helped many clear up misunderstandings and walk away unscathed. The important thing is having a lawyer working hard for you.
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