Welfare fraud is a serious criminal charge. Contact our criminal defense experts for help: (414) 270-0202
Welfare fraud, or public assistance fraud, is a misdemeanor charge in Wisconsin. Secondly, if the government convicts you of the offense involving making a false statement in an application for assistance, the maximum penalty you face is 9 months in jail, $10,000.00 in fines, or both. The courts classify that penalty as a Class A misdemeanor. Although it’s certainly not the most aggravated charge in Wisconsin, any criminal conviction remains on your record for life.
At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. our criminal defense attorneys are specialists. We focus 100% of our representation on criminal cases. We’re not a “general practice” firm, as we care about more than your money. Criminal defense is all we do. And that certainly helps achieve better results for your case.
Finally, we believe it’s important you hire a criminal defense attorney sooner rather than later. Law enforcement can dedicate resources against you 24/7. It’s important that your criminal defense attorney begin protecting you from the very earliest point. Our criminal defense attorneys respond to phone calls 24/7 and want to begin fighting your case. Contact us at (414) 270-0202 and let’s start fighting.
(2) Whoever intentionally makes … any false statement or representation of material fact in any application for or receipt of public assistance is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
Secondly, this is one version of welfare fraud. Others focus on an individual continuing to receive welfare funds even after a change in his or her financial circumstances. That charge begins as a misdemeanor but moves to felony-level charges based on the amount of money received.
Public assistance fraud: making a false statement in an application for public assistance is certainly different. The focus is on the front-end with this charge. As is clear from the statute, this crime simply focuses on the application for welfare benefits.
What are the elements of this offense?
All crimes in Wisconsin have elements. Each element is a part of the offense, and each element must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. If the government cannot prove each element, they certainly cannot prove the crime.
Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1850 provides the elements of public assistance fraud: making a false statement in an application for public assistance:
Firstly, the defendant intentionally made … a statement or representation of material fact in an application for or receipt of public assistance; and
Secondly, the statement or representation of material fact was false; and
Finally, the defendant knew the statement or representation of material fact was false.
What about the other version of public assistance fraud?
(a) Having knowledge of an event affecting the initial or continued eligibility for public assistance, conceal or fail to disclose that event with an intent to fraudulently secure public assistance, including payment either in a greater amount or quantity than is due or when no such benefit or payment is authorized.
(b) Receive any income or assets and fail to notify the public assistance agency within 10 days after receiving the income or assets, unless a different time period is required under the applicable public assistance program.
(c) Fail to notify the public assistance agency within 10 days of any change in circumstances for which notification by the recipient must be provided under law, unless a different time period is required under the applicable public assistance program.
(d) Receive a voucher under a public assistance program for goods or services and use the funding granted under the voucher for purposes that are not authorized by the public assistance agency.
These crimes all focus on continued conduct. Whether the government alleges you used your funds illegally, or received them when you shouldn’t have, this subsection prohibits that conduct.
How do we defend your welfare fraud case?
All criminal cases are different. And all criminal cases involve different personal circumstances.
The first place we generally start investigating fraud cases is the initial application. What exactly was the false statement or representation? Is the answer something subjective that isn’t absolutely objective? Certainly this factor could result in a strong argument against the second element of the charge.
Secondly, the best defense is a good offense. Do not give a statement to police. Upon giving a statement to police, prosecutors have 1) your written welfare application and 2) an additional confession. That makes defending a case much more difficult. Upon approaching a criminal defense attorney, you want to ensure that he has something to fight over.
Finally, contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C. for serious criminal defense representatoin
The criminal defense lawyers at Meyer Van Severen, S.C. dedicate 100% of their practice to cases just like yours. We don’t handle civil cases, and we’re certainly not a “general practice” law firm. That allows our criminal defense attorneys to better defend your case. In other words, we’re specialists.
You’re facing the powers and influence of the entire government. Hiring a staunch, aggressive criminal defense attorney is the best defense. Contact our criminal defense attorneys immediately at (414) 270-0202. Let’s start fighting for your rights.