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Queens Welfare Fraud Lawyers

The term welfare fraud is used to describe the act of intentionally defrauding the government in order to receive, maintain or increase welfare payments or services. If you or someone you know is being accused of welfare fraud, you need a Queens welfare fraud lawyer to help you protect your wallet and your reputation.

New York Welfare Fraud Crimes

According to New York law, a person commits welfare fraud when they intentionally engage in any of the following activities:

• Offering, presenting or submitting an oral or written application for public assistance benefits while knowing that the application contains false statements or information.

• Using a false identity, whether real or fictitious, with the intent of obtaining public assistance benefits.

• Giving false information or statements in order to establish or maintain eligibility for public assistance benefits.

Degrees of Welfare Fraud

The state of New York recognizes five degrees of welfare fraud crimes. Each degree is distinguished by the monetary value of public assistance benefits that were wrongfully used. Here is a closer look at each degree of welfare fraud:

Fifth Degree Welfare Fraud

Fifth-degree welfare fraud, the lowest offense, is a class A misdemeanor. As outlined in New York Penal Code 158.05, a person accused of fifth-degree welfare fraud is accused of defrauding one or more state, local or federal assistance programs out of any amount of money. In order to convict an individual of fifth-degree welfare fraud, the government must be able to prove the following:

1. That the accused committed an act of welfare fraud.
2. That the accused knowingly committed the act with the intention of defrauding the government.

Fourth Degree Welfare Fraud

The laws concerning fourth-degree welfare fraud are outlined in New York Penal code 158.10. This is a class E felony. In order to convict an individual of fourth-degree welfare fraud, the government must be able to prove the following:

1. That the accused committed an act of welfare fraud.
2. That the accused knowingly committed the act with the intention of defrauding the government.
3. That the value of the public assistance benefits obtained by the accused was in excess of a $1,000 dollars.

Third Degree Welfare Fraud

New York Penal Code 158.15 establishes third-degree welfare fraud as a class D felony. In order to convict an individual of third-degree welfare fraud, the government must be able to prove the following:

1. That the accused committed an act of welfare fraud.
2. That the accused knowingly committed the act with the intention of defrauding the government.
3. That the value of the public assistance benefits obtained by the accused was in excess of a $3,000 dollars.

Second Degree Welfare Frauds

This crime is addressed in New York Penal Code 158.20 and is a class C felony. In order to be convicted of second-degree welfare fraud, the government must prove the following:

1. That the accused committed an act of welfare fraud.
2. That the accused knowingly committed the act with the intention of defrauding the government.
3. That the value of the public assistance benefits obtained by the accused was in excess of a $50,000 dollars.

First Degree Welfare Fraud

As outlined in New York Penal Code section 158.25, first-degree welfare fraud is a class B felony. In order to convict an individual of first-degree welfare fraud, the government must be able to prove the following:

1. That the accused committed an act of welfare fraud.
2. That the accused knowingly committed the act with the intention of defrauding the government.
3. That the value of the public assistance benefits obtained by the accused was in excess of a million dollars.

Punishments for Welfare Fraud

If convicted of welfare fraud in the state of New York, you may be required pay restitution equal to the monetary value of benefits that were illegally obtained. In addition to this sum, you may be permanently barred from receiving welfare benefits in the future. Other punishments include jail or prison time, community service and a long list of other punishments.

Welfare fraud accusations of any kind should always be taken seriously. If you or a loved one has been accused of welfare fraud, our Queens welfare fraud lawyers may be able to help. Give us a call today to see what we can do for you.

Key Penal Law Provisions

• Welfare fraud in the fifth degree, PL 158.05, a class A misdemeanor
• Welfare fraud in the fourth degree, PL 158.10, a class E felony
• Welfare fraud in the third degree, P.L 158.15, a class D felony
• Welfare fraud in the second degree 158.20, a class C felony
• Welfare fraud in the first degree, 158.25, a class B felony

by Leonard on Spodek Law Group
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