Welfare Fraud Laws, Charges & Statute of Limitations

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Individuals who can demonstrate financial need can sometimes be provided with benefits or public relief, known as ‘welfare’. What they receive depends on their financial status, disability, and age. Various pieces of welfare exist, including food stamps (Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Welfare payments are made from tax revenues and hence come out of public coffers. Each state administers its own welfare program.

If people lie about their entitlement to or need of welfare commits welfare fraud. This could be a lie about someone’s earnings, financial need, living situation, or marital status, for instance. Additionally, choosing not to disclose a piece of information, such as changes in circumstances, can also be classed as welfare fraud, by lying through omission.

Welfare Fraud Laws

Welfare is governed by a number of statutes, which makes it a criminal act to obtain benefits by committing fraud. These statutes also impose penalties on those who violate them. Some states will also press charges under perjury, forgery, theft, or general larceny.

It is common for people who commit welfare fraud to also be convicted of theft. This is because they receive money using false pretenses. State criminal laws cover theft. Furthermore, because a welfare application is signed under oath, any false statement is classed as perjury. When filling in the details on a welfare application, people sign under oath that they have completed it truthfully and to the best of their knowledge. If it then turns out that the information was inaccurate, this is classed as perjury.

Welfare Fraud Crimes & Charges

Welfare fraud is federally covered under 42 U.S. Code Section 608a – Fraud Under Means-Tested Welfare and Public Assistance Programs.

Welfare Fraud Punishment

Under state welfare statutes, but also under general criminal ones, including theft and perjury, penalties can be imposed when someone is convicted of welfare fraud. This can include fines, imprisonment, and/or repayment of the money fraudulently received. Federal law states that criminal penalties can be imposed, but also that people who are convicted of welfare fraud with regards to the food stamp program, will not be able to apply for food stamps for a period of between 10 years to life. Those who are convicted of welfare fraud but are not citizens of this country can be deported, as well as denied re-entry into the country for life.

Welfare Fraud Sentencing Guidelines

When people are charged with welfare fraud, a number of sentencing guidelines are in place. These include the type of welfare they defrauded, how they did this, how long they did this for, and how much money is involved. The personal circumstances of the defendants also come into play. If convicted, their family members will not disqualify from further welfare applications. A very important factor is also how many times the person has committed an offense. Usually, this will also determine how long someone will be disqualified from applying for further welfare assistance.

Welfare Fraud Statute of Limitations

Each state has its own statute of limitations on welfare fraud. Most states have a five year statute of limitations on fraud. However, this is five years from the day it was discovered, not five years from the day it was committed. Additionally, the statute can be tolled if the offender is out of state or out of the country.

Welfare Fraud Cases

  • When Ronald Reagan ran for office, he used the story of the ‘Welfare Queen’ to describe a woman who literally milked the system. Many people believed her to be a fictitious character, devised by Reagan to aid in his campaign. However, she was actually a real person and she is Linda Taylor. She was trialed for welfare fraud and appeared quite cold and proud in the courtroom, rather than trying to win sympathy. Looking into her case, it was found that she may have done much more, including snatching a child and passing him as her own. (Slate.com)
  • Nadya Suleman is better known as ‘Octomum’, being the only woman in recorded history to have had octuplets who have lived pass their first few weeks of life. Suleman already had six other children, so the octuplets brought the total up to 14. She has frequently been in the press for her less than regular career choices, including nude model, porn actress, birth control pitch woman, and celebrity boxer. In January 2014, she was also charged with welfare fraud, a crime she denies committing. The fact that her life has been fraught with financial difficulties is no secret, however. (USA Today)
  • 14 different people were recently arrested in a welfare fraud sweep, and four others surrendered to law enforcement voluntarily. It has been alleged that, between them, they defrauded the public coffers of some $110,573. It is not clear whether the 18 cases are related, or whether they are individual fraud allegations. (Visalia Times Delta)
  • While in prison, Karen Luele managed to commit welfare fraud. On the day that she was convicted of forgery and theft, and while already serving time for other offenses, she applied for Medicaid and food stamps. She lied on her application in a number of different ways. She failed to say she was a convicted felon, that she was on probation, that her daughter didn’t live with her, and that she was actually married. Luele has already pleaded guilty to a number of charges, is facing other charges, and will now also face welfare fraud charges. A serial offender, it is likely that harsh penalties will be imposed. (Vail Daily)
  • A formed educational officer has been found guilty of welfare fraud. She obtained free school lunches for about four years, totaling around $1,700. Other people within the same department were also charged with fraud after an audit into the office itself. (The Washington Post)

Welfare Fraud Laws by State

The laws surrounding welfare fraud in each state vary widely. Often, differentiations are made about which part of welfare is defrauded, why it is defrauded, for how long, by whom, how often, to which amount, what the money was used for, and more. Some states have both criminal and civil penalties. An overview of some of the most important laws is provided below, although many other statutes are relevant as well. The chosen statutes show the wide variety of crimes involved in relation to welfare fraud. They also demonstrate how certain states have very clearly defined laws pertaining to welfare fraud, while others have less clear laws, and others still class welfare fraud as either larceny or theft.

AlabamaHawaiiMassachusettsNew MexicoSouth Dakota
AlaskaIdahoMichiganNew YorkTennessee
ArizonaIllinoisMinnesotaNorth CarolinaTexas
ArkansasIndianaMississippiNorth DakotaUtah
CaliforniaIowaMissouriOhioVermont
ColoradoKansasMontanaOklahomaVirginia
ConnecticutKentuckyNebraskaOregonWashington
DelawareLouisianaNevadaPennsylvaniaWest Virginia
FloridaMaineNew HampshireRhode IslandWisconsin
GeorgiaMarylandNew JerseySouth CarolinaWyoming

Alabama

2014 Code of Alabama

Title 13A – CRIMINAL CODE.

Chapter 9 – FORGERY AND FRAUDULENT PRACTICES.

Section 13A-9-150 – Public assistance fraud; penalties:

  • Class C felony if the value is $200 or more
  • Class A misdemeanor if the value is less than $200
  • Three violations or more means the fraud was intentional
  • Retribution

Alaska

Alaska Statutes Title 47. Welfare, Social Services and Institutions Section 47.05.210. Medical assistance fraud:

  • Class B felony if the value is over $25,000
  • Class C felony if the value is $500 to $25,000
  • Class A misdemeanor if the value is below $500

Arizona

2011 Arizona Revised Statutes

Title 46 Welfare

46-215 Welfare fraud; program disqualification; classification:

  • Disqualification for 12 months for 1st offense, 24 months for 2nd offense, and permanent disqualification for subsequent offenses
  • Class 6 felony

Arkansas

Arkansas Code Title 20. Public Health and Welfare Section 20-64-220. Penalties:

  • 1st offense: Fine of up to $2,000 and two to five years in state prison
  • 2nd offense: Fine up to $2,000 and five to ten years in state prison
  • Subsequent offense: Fine of up to $2,000 and 10 to 20 years in state prison

For violations of the above with preparations exempted under Section 20-64-208:

  • 1st offense: $25 fine
  • 2nd offense: $50 fine
  • Subsequent offense: $100 fine

California

Welfare & Institutions 10980(a) 10980(b) 10980(c)(1) 10980(g)(2) 11054:

  • Misdemeanor if false or misleading statement is made: Six months in jail and/or fine of up to $500
  • Misdemeanor or felony if application is filed fraudulently. Misdemeanor: up to one year in jail and/or up to $1,000 fine. Felony: up to three years in jail and/or up to $5,000 fine
  • If the fraudster is a government employee: up to three years in state prison (four if value is above $65,000)
  • Restitution

Colorado

C.R.S. 18-4-401:

  • Value between $50 and $300: class 3 misdemeanor – up to six months in jail and $70 to $750 fine
  • Value between $300 and $750: class 2 misdemeanor – three to 12 months in jail and fine up to $1,000
  • Value between $750 and $2,000: class 1 misdemeanor – six to 18 months in jail and fine up to $5,000
  • Value between $2,000 and $5,000: class 6 felony – 12 to 18 months in prison and fine up to $100,000
  • Value between $5,000 and $20,000: class 5 felony – one to three years in prison and fine up to $100,000
  • Value between $20,000 and $100,000: class 4 felony – two to six years in prison and fine up to $500,000
  • Value between $100,000 and $1 million: class 3 felony – four to 12 years in prison and fine up to $750,000
  • Value over $1,000,000: class 2 felony – eight to 24 years in prison and fine up to $1 million

Connecticut

Connecticut General Statutes 17b-97 – Fraud in obtaining aid or food stamp or supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits or in receiving payment. Penalties. Unlawful award of public assistance benefits.

  • Larceny charge
  • Discontinuation of benefits where appropriate
  • Delaware

TITLE 31, Welfare, In General, CHAPTER 10. FRAUDULENT ACTS, 65 Del. Laws, c. 345, Section 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, Section 1.; Section 1003 Obtaining benefit under false representation.

  • Value below $500: class A misdemeanor
  • Value between $500 and $10,000: class E felony
  • Value over $10,000: class C felony
  • Restitution plus interest
  • Discontinuation of participation in the welfare program

Florida

Florida Statute 414.39 – Welfare Fraud

  • Value under $200 in the past year: 1st degree misdemeanor – one year in jail and fine of $1,000
  • Value between $200 and $20,000 in the past year: 3rd degree felony – up to five years in prison and fine of $5,000. Level 1 of 10 crime
  • Value between $20,000 and $100,000 in the past year: 2nd degree felony – up to 15 years in prison and fine of $10,000
  • Value above $100,000 in the past year: 1st degree felony – up to 30 years in prison and fine of $10,000

Georgia

2010 Georgia Code

TITLE 49 – SOCIAL SERVICES

CHAPTER 4 – PUBLIC ASSISTANCE

ARTICLE 1 – GENERAL PROVISIONS

Section 49-4-15 – Fraud in obtaining public assistance, food stamps, or Medicaid; penalties; recovery of overpayments

  • Restitution
  • Proportionate reduction of welfare
  • Civil action

2010 Georgia Code

TITLE 49 – SOCIAL SERVICES

CHAPTER 4 – PUBLIC ASSISTANCE

ARTICLE 7B – STATE FALSE MEDICAID CLAIMS ACT

Section 49-4-168.1 – Civil penalties for false or fraudulent Medicaid claims

  • Fine of $5,500 to $11,000 for each claim
  • Restitution of up to three times the amount defrauded
  • Costs of civil action

Hawaii

2013 Hawaii Revised Statutes

TITLE 20. SOCIAL SERVICES

  1. Department of Human Services

346-34 Frauds, penalties:

  • Value below $300: Misdemeanor
  • Value from $300 to $20,000: Class C felony
  • Value over $20,000: Class B felony

Idaho

TITLE 56

PUBLIC ASSISTANCE AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 2

PUBLIC ASSISTANCE LAW

56-227. Fraudulent acts – Penalty:

  • Charged as larceny or theft depending on value.
  • Illinois
  • PUBLIC AID
  • (305 ILCS 5/) Illinois Public Aid Code
  • (305 ILCS 5/6-1.8) (from Ch. 23, par. 6-1.8)
  • Discontinuation from the program after multiple convictions.

(305 ILCS 5/8A-2) (from Ch. 23, par. 8A-2) Recipient fraud.

  • Perjury

(305 ILCS 5/8A-2.5) Sec. 8A-2.5. Unauthorized use of medical assistance.

  • Restitution with 5% interest.

Indiana

Indiana Code Title 35. Criminal Law and Procedure Section 35-43-5-7

  • Value is $750 to $50,000: Level 6 felony
  • Value over $50,000: Level 5 felony
  • Probation
  • Restitution

Iowa

Iowa Code section 714.8.

  • Value over $500: permanent loss of benefits
  • Trade for the purchase of firearms, explosives, or ammunition: permanent loss of benefits
  • Trade for the purchase of controlled substances: loss of benefits for two years for 1st offense, permanent for subsequent offenses
  • Loss of Food Assistance for 10 years for attempting to receive multiple assistance or providing false information on residence

Kansas

KEESM 01-01-18. 11000. Incorrect Benefits And Fraud Determinations. 11200. Determination Of Fraud. 11220 Penalties For Fraud

  • 1st violation: 12 months disqualification. 18 months added for criminal violations
  • 2nd violation: 23 months disqualification. 18 months added for criminal violations
  • Subsequent violation: permanent disqualification
  • Trade for controlled substances: 24 months disqualification for 1st offense, permanent for repeat offenses
  • Trade for firearms, ammunition, or explosives: permanent disqualification
  • Trafficking more than $500: permanent disqualification
  • Fraudulent statements relating to residence or identity: 10 year disqualification
  • Under 11221.2 TANF and Child Care Penalties, adults have permanent disqualification.

Kentucky

Under 62 P.S. Section481, full restitution has to be paid and convictions include community service, probation, incarceration depending on what was taken and number of offenses. Disqualification in:

  • Cash assistance: 1st offense – six months; 2nd offense – 12 months; subsequent offense – permanent.
  • Subsidized child care: 1st offense – six months, 2nd offense – 12 months; subsequent offense – permanent.
  • SNAP: 1st offense – 12 months; 2nd offense – 24 months; subsequent offense – permanent.

Louisiana

2011 Louisiana Laws

Revised Statutes

TITLE 46 – Public welfare and assistance

RS 46:7 – Questionnaire for applicant; fraud or misrepresentation; penalties

  • Misdemeanor: Fine of up to $500 and/or up to one year imprisonment

2011 Louisiana Laws

Revised Statutes

TITLE 46 – Public welfare and assistance

RS 46:114 – Fraud in obtaining assistance; withholding information concerning property, income or beneficiary, or personal circumstances

  • Disqualification of six months for 1st offense
  • Disqualification of one year for 2nd offense
  • Permanent disqualification for subsequent offenses

2011 Louisiana Laws

Revised Statutes

TITLE 46 – Public welfare and assistance

RS 46:114 – Fraud in obtaining assistance; withholding information concerning property, income or beneficiary, or personal circumstances

  • Disqualification for six months for 1st offense
  • Disqualification for one year for 2nd offense
  • Permanent disqualification for subsequent offenses

2011 Louisiana Laws

Revised Statutes

TITLE 46 – Public welfare and assistance

RS 46:114.2 – Attempting or aiding to obtain assistance fraudulently; penalties

  • Charged as theft.

Maine

Title 22: HEALTH AND WELFARE

Subtitle 1: DEPARTMENTAL ORGANIZATION AND OPERATION

Chapter 1: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Subchapter 1: ORGANIZATION; GENERAL POWERS AND DUTIES

Section16

Section15. Civil liability of persons making false claims

  • Full restitution
  • Interest
  • Civil penalties
  • Legal fees

Maryland

2010 Maryland Code

CRIMINAL LAW

TITLE 8 – FRAUD AND RELATED CRIMES

Subtitle 5 – Public Fraud

Section 8-516. Criminal penalty

  • Violation that causes death: felony – life imprisonment and/or fine up to $200,000
  • Violation that causes serious injury: felony – up to 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $100,000
  • Violation of $500 or more: felony – up to five years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $100,000
  • Other violations: misdemeanor – up to three years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $50,000
  • Violation by business entity – fine of up to $250,000 for each felony or up to $100,000 for each misdemeanor

Massachusetts

  • Full restitution plus one week of benefits for each week collected
  • Deduction of up to 25% from benefits

Michigan

THE SOCIAL WELFARE ACT (EXCERPT)

Act 280 of 1939

400.60 Fraudulent device to obtain relief; liability; misdemeanor; penalty; information to be provided by recipients.

  • Value is $500 or less – Misdemeanor
  • Value is above $500 – Felony

Minnesota

2017 Minnesota Statutes

256.98 WRONGFULLY OBTAINING ASSISTANCE; THEFT

  • Can be charged criminally or civilly
  • Full restitution
  • Disqualification: one year for 1st offense, two years for 2nd offense, permanently for subsequent offenses

256.984 DECLARATION AND PENALTY.

  • Charged as perjury

Mississippi

2013 Mississippi Code

Title 97 – CRIMES

Chapter 19 – FALSE PRETENSES AND CHEATS

Section 97-19-71 – Fraud in connection with state or federally funded assistance programs; penalty

  • Up to three years in state prison and fine of $1,000 to $10,000.
  • Up to one year in country year and fine of $100 to $1,000
  • Full restitution
  • Discontinuation of the program

Missouri

2011 Missouri Revised Statutes

TITLE XII PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE

Chapter 191 Health and Welfare

Section 191.905. False statement to receive health care payment prohibited–kickback, bribe, purpose, prohibited, exceptions–abuse prohibited–penalty–prosecution, procedure–Medicaid fraud reimbursement fund created–restitution–civil penalty–notification to disciplinary agencies–civil action authorized.

  • 1st offense: Class C felony
  • 2nd offense: Class B felony
  • Value below $500: Class A misdemeanor
  • Fraudulent communications with intent: Class D felony

Montana

Montana Code Annotated 2017

TITLE 45. CRIMES

CHAPTER 7. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

Part 2. Perjury and Other Falsification in Official Matters

Unsworn Falsification To Authorities

  • Fine of up to $500 and/or up to six months in county jail

Nebraska

  • SNAP and TANF fraud – restitution and other penalties.

Nevada

NRS 422A

May be category D or E felony:

  • One to four years in state prison
  • Restitution
  • Fine up to $5,000
  • Discontinuation of program
  • Probation

New Hampshire

Workers’ Compensation: N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. Section 281-A:23(IV) – loss of professional license.

New Jersey

N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4.

  • 3rd degree crime
  • Three to five years in jail
  • Up to $15,000 fine

New Mexico

2011 New Mexico Statutes

Chapter 30: Criminal Offenses

Article 44: Medicaid Fraud, 30-44-1 through 30-44-8

Section 30-44-7: Medicaid fraud; defined; investigation; penalties.

  • Value is $100 or less: Petty misdemeanor
  • Value is more than $100 to $250: Misdemeanor
  • Value is more than $250 to $2,500: 4th degree felony
  • Between $2,500 and $20,000: 3rd degree felony
  • Over $20,000: 2nd degree felony
  • Where the fraud caused physical or psychological harm: 4th degree felony
  • Where the fraud caused great physical or psychological harm: 3rd degree felony
  • Where the fraud caused death: 2nd degree felony
  • If the fraudster is an entity: fine of up to $50,000 for each misdemeanor or $250,000 for each felony

New York

Article 158 – NY Penal Law:

  • 5th degree welfare fraud: Class A misdemeanor
  • 4th degree welfare fraud: Class E felony
  • 3rd degree welfare fraud: Class D felony
  • 2nd degree welfare fraud: Class C felony
  • 1st degree welfare fraud: Class B felony
  • 2nd degree criminal use of public benefit card: Class A misdemeanor
  • 1st degree criminal use of public benefit card: Class E felony
  • 3rd degree criminal possession of public benefits card: Class E felony
  • 2nd degree criminal possession of public benefits card: Class D felony
  • 1st degree criminal possession of public benefits card: Class C felony

North Carolina

2005 North Carolina Code – General Statutes Section 108A-53. Fraudulent misrepresentation.

Section 108A-53. Fraudulent misrepresentation.

  • Up to $400: Class 1 misdemeanor or class I felony depending on circumstances
  • Fraudulently using authorization cards or food stamps: Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Knowingly using fraudulently obtained food stamps: Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Exchanging food stamps in a prohibited way: Class 1 misdemeanor

North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code Section 12.1-23-02 – Theft

  • Value below $250: Class B misdemeanor – Up to 30 days imprisonment and/or fine of up to $1,000
  • Value is $250 to $500: Class A misdemeanor – Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $2,000
  • Value above $500: Class C felony – Up to five years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $5,000
  • Value above $10,000: Class B felony – Up to 10 years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $10,000

Ohio

5101:6-20-03 State hearings: penalties for intentional program violation.

  • Jail or prison sentence
  • Court fees
  • Fines
  • Loss of benefits
  • Restitution
  • Denial of citizenship

Oklahoma

2014 Oklahoma Statutes

Title 56. Poor Persons

Section56-243. Food stamp fraud – Penalties.

  • Up to $500: Misdemeanor – Fine of up to $500 and/or up to three months in county jail
  • Value above $500: Felony – Fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to two years in state prison
  • Knowingly trafficking food stamps up to $100: Misdemeanor – Up to $500 fine and/or up to three months in county jail
  • Knowingly trafficking food stamps with a value above $100: Felony – Up to $5,000 fine and/or up to two years in state prison
  • Disqualification from program

Oregon

IPV (Intentional Program Violation) is a class C felony. Punishment includes fines, restitution, and jail. TANF check and food stamps can be discontinued:

  • For 12 months for 1st offense
  • For 24 months for 2nd offense
  • Permanently for subsequent offenses
  • Permanent disqualification if fraud was used to purchase controlled substances, explosives, ammunition, or firearms.
  • Receiving welfare from two or more states leads to disqualification for 10 years.
  • Overpayment is collected by reducing benefits by up to 20%.

Pennsylvania

62 P.S. Section 481

  • Full restitution
  • Community service, probation, or incarceration
  • Court costs
  • Fines
  • Disqualification

Disqualification depends on offense and type of program. As such:

  • Cash assistance – 1st offense: six months; 2nd offense: 12 months; subsequent offense: permanent
  • Subsidized child care – 1st offense: six months; 2nd offense: 12 months; subsequent offense: permanent
  • SNAP – 1st offense: 12 months; 2nd offense: 24 months; subsequent offense: permanent

Rhode Island

2012 Rhode Island General Laws

Title 40 – Human services

Chapter 40-6 – Public Assistance Act

Chapter 40-6-15 – Fraudulently obtaining assistance.

Larceny:

  • Value up to $500: up to one year imprisonment and/or fine of up to $500
  • Value over $500: up to five years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $1,000

Chapter 40-6-16 – Fraudulent use of food stamps.

Larceny:

  • Value up to $500: up to one year imprisonment and/or fine of up to $500
  • Value over $500: up to five years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $1,000
  • Discontinuation of program for six to 24 months

South Carolina

2013 South Carolina Code of Laws

Title 16 – Crimes and Offenses

CHAPTER 13 – FORGERY, LARCENY, EMBEZZLEMENT, FALSE PRETENSES AND CHEATS

SECTION 16-13-430. Fraudulent acquisition or use of food stamps.

  • Value above $10,000: felony – Up to 10 years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $5,000
  • Between $2,000 and $10,000: felony – Up to five years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $500
  • Less than $2,000: misdemeanor – Up to 30 days imprisonment and/or fine of up to $1,000
  • Establishments allowing the purchase of prohibited items: discontinuation for up to two years and/or fine of up to $5,000

South Dakota

  • SNAP fraud – Up to 20 years in jail and/or up to $250,000 fine, disqualification from program, restitution.

Tennessee

2010 Tennessee Code

Title 71 – Welfare

Chapter 5 – Programs and Services for Poor Persons

Part 3 – Food Stamps

71-5-314 – Fraudulent receipt of food assistance Penalties Statute of limitations.

  • Value $100 or more: Class E felony – Fine of between $1,000 and $5,000 and/or sentencing
  • Value below $100: Class A misdemeanor – Fine and/or sentence
  • Program disqualification: 12 months for 1st offense, 24 months for 2nd offense, permanent for subsequent offense
  • Restitution

Texas

State Jail Felony – six months to two years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000.

For repeat offenders, penalties are enhanced:

  • 2nd degree felony
  • Two to 20 years in state prison
  • Up to $10,000 fine

Utah

Part 12

Public Assistance Fraud

76-8-1201 Definitions

76-8-1206 Penalties for public assistance fraud.

  • Value above $5,000: 2nd degree felony; one to 15 years in prison and fine up to $10,000
  • Value is more than $1,500 but less than $5,000: 3rd degree felony; up to five years in prison and fine up to $5,000
  • Value is more than $500 but less than $1,500: Class A misdemeanor; up to one year in jail and fine up to $2,500
  • Value below $500: Class B misdemeanor; up to six months in jail and fine of up to $1,000

Vermont

2012 Vermont Statutes

Title 33 Human Services

Chapter 1 DEPARTMENT OF PREVENTION, ASSISTANCE, TRANSITION, AND HEALTH ACCESS

Section 143 General penalty

  • Value less than $1,000: Fine to the value of the fraud and/or up to one year imprisonment
  • Value above $1,000: Fine to the value of the fraud and/or up to three years imprisonment
  • Violating certain subsections: Fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 10 years imprisonment
  • Restitution
  • Providers engaging in fraud: Suspension for up to four years

Virginia

2006 Code of Virginia Section 63.2-522 – False statements, representations, impersonations and fraudulent devices; classifies welfare fraud as larceny.

Washington

RCW 74.08.331

  • 1st degree theft: up to 15 years in state correctional facility
  • Using someone else’s benefits: Gross misdemeanor – Up to 364 days in county jail and/or up to $1,000 fine

RCW 74.09.230 False statements, fraud

  • Penalties. Up to $25,000 in fines: Class C felony

West Virginia

West Virginia Code

Chapter 9. Human Services.

Article 5. Miscellaneous provisions.

  • Value up to $500: Misdemeanor – Fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail
  • Value above $500: Felony – Fine of up to $5,000 and/or between one and five years in prison
  • Using the names of people in receipt of welfare: Misdemeanor – Fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment

Wisconsin

2012 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations

  1. Public assistance and children and family services.

49.95 Penalties; evidence.

  • Value less than $300: fine of up to $1,000.
  • Value more than $300 but less than $1,000: fine of up to $250 and/or up to six months imprisonment
  • Value more than $1,000 but less than $2,000: fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to nine months imprisonment.
  • Value more than $2,000 but less than $5,000: Class I felony.
  • Value more than $5,000 but less than $10,000: Class H felony.
  • Value above $10,000: Class G felony.
  • Interfering with the administration of public assistance: Fine of $10 to $100 or imprisonment of at least 10 but not more than 60 days

Wyoming

2011 Wyoming Statutes

TITLE 27 – LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT

CHAPTER 3 – UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

27-3-702. Obtaining benefits by fraud; disqualification of benefits; penalties.

  • Value below $1,000: misdemeanor – Fine of up to $750 and/or up to 90 days imprisonment
  • Value is $1,000 or more: felony – Up to five years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $5,000
  • Full restitution
  • Disqualification from program

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About Geoffrey Nathan, Esq.

Geoffrey G Nathan is a top federal crimes lawyer and Chief Editor of FederalCharges.com. He is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1988, admitted to practice in both Federal and State courts. If you have questions about your federal case he can help by calling 877.472.5775.