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Welfare fraud is a very common occurrence. In many cases, the person does not even realize that they are commuting a crime. In other cases, people blatantly try to get as many benefits out of the government as possible. Whether guilty or innocent, anyone who has been convicted of welfare fraud needs legal representation to help them through this difficult time.
What is Welfare Fraud?
Fraud of this nature can occur many different ways. First, a person can have a change in income and not report it in a timely manner. This can be due to a new job, an increase in other supportive payments, or any other income into the home. The law stipulates that you have 10 days to report the new income. If it is not reported, and a person continues to receive benefits, they have committed welfare fraud.
What about a person who misrepresents how many are in the home to increase benefits? They can use a brother or sister’s child, or they can mislead the government to make them think something that is not true. Lying on the application is considered fraud no matter how small the instance.
The Government Fights Back
The government is really cracking down on welfare fraud. The whole public health system is in trouble due to funding cuts and the overwhelming amount of people who depend on its existence. This type of fraud in California falls under the category of a “wobbler.” The prosecution can file the charges under a misdemeanor or a felony, the choice is theirs. They will examine the situation and the severity of the case and assign the charges they feel are justified. The previous criminal history will also be examined.
The Official Charges Under California’s Law
There are different codes within the state’s penal code system that this type of fraud can fall under, they are: 487 grand theft, 470 forgery, 118 perjury, and 182 conspiracy. Depending on the type of fraud commuted, the prosecution can use any of these laws as their basis.
Defending Yourself against Welfare Fraud
This program is meant to help those that are unemployed and underemployed. If you are guilty of deliberately misstating information or failing to provide relevant information, you may be guilty fraud. Our legal team wants to help. We know that the cost of living in California keeps increasing, and the job market does not seem to pay enough. Thankfully, we do have effective defenses that we can use in these cases.
Our Defense Strategy
First, the prosecution must show that you had fraudulent intent. Perhaps you wrote something down incorrectly on the application or failed to report something in a timely manner. The burden of proof is on them to show that you committed a crime. They must also present to the court evidence of the offense. They can use the application, or any type of paperwork they have on hand. Even if the evidence seems incriminating, it is not conclusive, and the case can be dismissed on a technicality. Guilt must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Legal Help is Vital
In most cases, the welfare system just wants to collect the money owed to them. Oftentimes, if a person makes a deal to pay back the money, they can have their crime reduce from a felony to a misdemeanor and avoid jail time. The district attorney can offer a deal to those who will repay most of the money taken. Welfare fraud is serious and can cost thousands of dollars in fines as well as jail time. If you have been charged, you must have legal representation. Our legal team can help you to get the charges reduced, work a deal, or avoid jail time. Call us today for a consultation.