new york welfare fraud lawyers
People who get assistance from the government may purposely or accidentally commit welfare fraud in New York State. For example, when filling out the application for support, you may accidentally leave off one of your part-time jobs, or you may forget to tell the government that there’s been a change in your living situation, such as paying less rent. While these types of accidents may still technically be considered fraud, they’re not punished as severely as when fraud is purposely committed. For example, a person who purposely does not report their full income may have a more severe sentence than someone who made an honest mistake. Social security fraud is also part of welfare fraud.
Reporting Your Earnings
If you earn any amount of money or make money in any way, you have to report it to the welfare or social security office. Some people opt to not report money they make if it comes in the form of cash instead of a check, and this is one of the many ways that people commit welfare fraud. Without a paper trail, most people think that their cash income can’t be traced. It’s also common for a person to have a part-time job to show that they do earn some amount of money, while on the side they’re collecting cash from another job, and they’re not reporting that second stream of income.
Reporting Who Lives in Your Home
Another types of welfare fraud is not being honest about who is living in your home. This is most commonly seen for the sake of food stamps and Medicaid support, and not typically seen when it comes to social security. Social security bases how much you get on how much you paid into it, not on how many people are living in your household. Welfare, however, does need to know how many people are in your household in order to determine how much support to give you.
Some people say that there are more people in the home than there really or in order to get a higher amount of benefits. If someone moves out of your home, it’s necessary to report the change to the welfare office, because they will need to lower the amount of support you receive. By taking into account how much money you make, how many people are living in the home, and how much everyone who lives with you is making, the amount of support you qualify for is determined.
If you don’t report how much you make or how many people are in the home accurately, whether on purpose or by accident, it’s possible that benefits will stop for a specific amount of time, or that you will be required to pay back the benefits that you should not have received.
Food Stamps Trafficking
Food stamps trafficking is a common type of welfare fraud, and it occurs when a person sells food stamps in exchange for drugs, money or other types of item. Since food stamps can only be used for certain types of food products, some people try to sell them if they need money for other means, like paying a bill or buying clothing. Even if you have a good reason for selling your food stamps and you’re not exchanging them for anything illegal, it’s still considered welfare fraud. If you’re caught, you may be charged with committing fraud.
Stores and Welfare Fraud
People who get welfare aren’t the only ones who can be charged with welfare fraud. It’s not uncommon for stores to commit welfare fraud, too, particularly smaller businesses. For example, the person who works at the store may ring up an item that can’t technically be purchased with food stamps, like cigarettes or alcohol. They will then let the person purchase the item with the food stamps instead of cash. To do this, the store worker wouldn’t scan in the actual item, but instead enter a different item number so that it looks like a food item was bought instead of the cigarettes or alcohol.
Hiring an Attorney
If you’ve been charged with welfare fraud or social security fraud, it’s highly important to contact an experienced welfare fraud attorney. Your lawyer will work to determine if you committed fraud on purpose or if it was an honest accident that deserves a lighter sentence. Gather as much paperwork as possible, which your lawyer will use to make your case.