Public Assistance Fraud Investigations
Public assistance, more popularly described as welfare, is one of the most hotly debated topics today in the United States. Conservative voices often decry public assistance as a waste of taxpayer money and describe people who subsist on welfare as lower rungs of society. Those with more reasonable views understand that income and wealth inequality too often drive people to rely on public assistance to simply survive. Those that criticize public assistance the most often have the lease understanding of what public assistance actually is or does.
Public assistance in Florida can relate to a multitude of different programs. The most common public assistance programs include food assistance or food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid, and child care subsidies. Very rarely do public assistance benefits actually confer cash on the recipients of public assistance. Through food assistance, people receive limited vouchers to purchase certain food necessities. Through Medicare and Medicaid, those who need it can receive subsidized medical treatment. And subsidized child care helps people get out of poverty by allowing them to have affordable child care so that they can work toward a better future for themselves and their families.
Nevertheless, there are criminal offenses associated with the receipt of public assistance benefits. The line between qualifying for public assistance and not is often a very thin one. And once a family is cut off of the food, medical, and childcare assistance they relied on, it can be difficult to survive without it when the bills begin to pile up. This all too often forces people to make a difficult decision. Either they can forgo public assistance benefits and try to make it on their own, or they forgo new and better job opportunities that might disqualify them from benefits. Some make the fateful decision to simply lie on their public assistance applications to continue to receive benefits that they rely on. This action will invariably lead to an investigation and potential charges for public assistance fraud. If you are being investigated for public assistance fraud, you should contact a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal lawyer immediately to find out what your next steps should be.Public Assistance Fraud Investigation Process
When you are notified that a public assistance fraud investigation is beginning, the process will purposefully be made a mystery to you. Investigators from both the Department of Children and Families and from the Department of Financial Services will contact your employer, your family members and you directly. Because they are doing an ongoing investigation, they are not required to read you your Miranda warnings or inform you that you have the right to an attorney. At this stage, the investigators will attempt to get you to admit to the offense. You should never talk to these law enforcement officers without an attorney present. Too often people are lulled into a false sense of security and reveal far too much to these investigators. Don’t try to handle these situations alone, contact a dedicated St. Petersburg criminal lawyer to defend you.
Once a public assistance fraud investigation has been completed, the investigators will send the file to the local State Attorneys office. All too often, these prosecutors will simply rubber stamp the investigation and file charges without analyzing the likely hundreds of pages of documentation collected in the investigation. A skilled lawyer can intervene with the prosecution before they make a decision to file your case and can often achieve a positive result if we get involved quickly. Often, prosecutors will be willing to work out such cases with restitution and can sometimes decide to drop the cases outright.Call Our Lawyers Today
The attorneys at Hanlon Law have years of experience defending clients on all manner of fraud cases. We have a history of achieving excellent results for our clients and look forward to helping you on your case. Call us today for a consultation at 727.289.0222.