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Food stamp fraud could be a felony.  Contact our criminal defense lawyers for immediate help: (414) 270-0202

Food stamp fraud is a serious crime.  The government prosecutes cases involving this kind of fraud especially seriously.  And the reason for that is pretty simple: the government itself is impacted by this crime.  Food stamp fraud charges range from Class A misdemeanors to Class G felonies.  The level of the offense depends on the amount of money involved:

  • Firstly, for misstating facts on an application, the charge is a Class A misdemeanor;
  • Secondly, for fraud involving less than $100.00, the charge is a Class B misdemeanor;
  • For fraud involving between $100.00 and $5,000.00, the charge is a Class I felony;
  • For fraud involving $100.00 – $5,000.00, and a prior conviction, the charge is a Class H felony;
  • Finally, for fraud over $5,000.00 the charge is a Class G felony.

Certainly the charges for food stamp fraud increase very quickly.  The difference between $75.00 in groceries and $125.00 in groceries doesn’t seem like much, but the charges move from a mitigated misdemeanor to a serious felony charge.

At Meyer Van Severen our criminal defense attorneys focus 100% of their practices on criminal defense.  That means if you’re seeking a civil attorney, we won’t handle your case.  And we’re certainly not a “general practice” law firm.  Our 100% focus on criminal law allows us to better focus on criminal law.  And our focus on criminal law will yield better results for clients facing criminal charges.

Finally, let’s start talking about your case.  Don’t hesitate to call us, as we answer calls 24/7 at (414) 270-0202.

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Food stamp fraud: misstating facts on an application

Firstly, there are a few different food stamp fraud charges.  One version of the offense focuses on simply filling out the application incorrectly.  Section 946.92(2)(a) of the Wisconsin Statutes indicates:

(a) No person may misstate or conceal facts in a food stamp program application or report of income, assets or household circumstances with intent to secure or continue to receive food stamp program benefits.

All crimes in Wisconsin have elements, or parts that the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1862 provides the elements of this offense:

  • Firstly, the defendant misstated or concealed facts in a food stamp program application or report of income; and
  • Secondly, the defendant misstated or concealed facts with the intent to secure or continue to receive food stamp program benefits.

Jury instructions help us to better understand a criminal charge.  That’s certainly the case in this specific charge.  The phrase with intent to, as used in the second element, requires that the defendant had the mental purpose to obtain food stamp benefits by misstating or concealing facts in the application.

Let’s talk about an example: The defendant lies about how much money he makes on a food stamp application.  He decreases his income number from $40,000.00 to $15,000.00.  Finally, his purpose in modifying the number is so he obtains food stamp benefits.  He recognizes that he probably won’t qualify while he makes $40,000.00.  This example certainly satisfies the elements of this offense.

Now, what will the defendant be charged with in this example?  The answer to this question focuses on the amount of benefits received.  The defendant isn’t charge with the Class G felony because he lied about $25,000.00 of income.  Instead, the charge level depends on how much food stamp funding he received.

What are the other food stamp charges?

There are a few other versions of food stamp fraud, all provided in Section 946.42 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  Those charges also focus on the value of the benefits when determining the offense level.  The law indicates:

(b) No person may knowingly fail to report changes in income, assets or other facts as required under 7 USC 2015 (c) (1) or regulations issued under that provision.
(c) No person may knowingly issue food stamp program benefits to a person who is not an eligible person or knowingly issue food stamp program benefits to an eligible person in excess of the amount for which the person’s household is eligible.
(d) No eligible person may knowingly transfer food stamp program benefits except to purchase food from a supplier or knowingly obtain or use food stamp program benefits for which the person’s household is not eligible.
(e) No supplier may knowingly obtain food stamp program benefits except as payment for food or knowingly obtain food stamp program benefits from a person who is not an eligible person.
(f) No unauthorized person may knowingly obtain, possess, transfer, or use food stamp program benefits.
(g) No person may knowingly traffic food stamp program benefits.
Food stamp fraud regulation.
Food stamp fraud could lead to felony charges. Contact our criminal defense lawyers for help at (414) 270-0202.

Finally, why should I hire Meyer Van Severen, S.C. for my criminal defense needs?

You certainly won’t have a very hard time finding an attorney that will take your money.  But are you looking for someone who specializes in this area of law?  Are you looking for someone to win your criminal case?

Meyer Van Severen, S.C. is a law firm completely dedicated to criminal defense.  Criminal defense is all we do.  100% of our practice is dedicated to defending criminal charges just like yours.  That dogged dedication to criminal law helps us achieve better results for our clients.

Finally, let’s start fighting your case.  Certainly one of our attorneys is a good ally for you moving forward.  Call us at (414) 270-0202 and let’s start fighting.