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10 Worst cases of welfare fraud
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What does a welfare fraud investigation entail

This article will explain the overall process of investigatory cases of welfare fraud as well as what defines welfare fraud in the State of California. Read on to learn more about welfare fraud investigations, and if afterwards you would like more information on the subject, please consider contacting us for more information.

Welfare fraud under California Code 10980 is defined as:

"Any person who, willfully and knowingly, with the intent to deceive, makes a false statement or representation or knowingly fails to disclose a material fact in order to obtain aid under the provisions of this division or who, knowing he or she is not entitled thereto, attempts to obtain aid or to continue to receive aid to which he or she is not entitled, or to receive a larger amount than that to which he or she is legally entitled, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period of not more than six months, by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or by both imprisonment and fine."

Some examples include of welfare fraud include:

  • underreporting income or assets
  • not reporting a prior criminal record
  • or not reporting that another parent or caregiver resides in the family

Investigation

The process of investigating suspected welfare fraud begins with an investigator contacting the individual in question or referrals such as his/her family, friends, or anyone else who may have useful information regarding the case. The investigator may inquire about the individual's current benefits as well as how their benefits were obtained.

Listed below are some of the more common places prosecutors can obtain referrals:

  • Reports from public hotlines
  • Online websites and hotlines open for reporting welfare fraud
  • Agencies who keep track of disbursement of benefits
  • Any agency that has reason to believe welfare fraud is being committed

Other parties may eventually become involved in the case, such as

  • Family Support Services
  • Child Welfare Services
  • Adult Protective Services

It should be noted specifically that internal welfare fraud can often involve other crimes, like identity theft or embezzlement. 

Findings gathered by an investigator will then be passed on to the District Attorney for further consideration, who will decide whether the individual in question should be charged. In the event that the D.A. deems there is not enough information on the case to file a criminal charge, he/she will drop the case for lack of evidence or have the investigation search for more evidence/information for the case. He/she may also decide to send the case to a welfare fraud diversion program.

This article has gone over the basics of what is involved in a welfare fraud investigation. Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. We here at the H Law group patiently await your call.

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