Prefiling Public Assistance Fraud Cases
As the income and wealth divide grows wider and wider in America, it has become painfully clear the side that our own government is taking. As we pay heavy taxes and seemingly get fewer and fewer benefits, our State and Federal government agencies go out of their way to subsidize big businesses and bail out failed financial institutions. All the while, those same government institutions, those that are supposed to be there to serve the people, seek out and punish those in our society who are the most vulnerable and least able to fend for themselves. The legislature has made many crimes out of being poor and the crime of public assistance fraud is just one of them.
If you receive public assistance from the government, or if you have been denied that assistance, then you know how low the threshold to receive benefits is. You know that you must be in nearly abject poverty to receive even basic assistance. And you know that if you had to make the choice between making more money or taking public assistance, you would likely have to choose the public assistance or risk losing needed child care or health insurance. Many people threatened with losing public assistance will take drastic measures, both legal and illegal to ensure that they continue to receive the benefits that their families rely on. If you are one of these people, and are under investigation for public assistance benefit fraud, you should contact a skilled Sarasota criminal defense lawyer to assist you as soon as possible.Prefiling Public Assistance Fraud Procedures
Public assistance fraud is a criminal offense laid out under Florida Statute 414.39. Under the statute, if a person makes a false statement, misrepresentation or impersonation on their application for public assistance benefits, he or she can be charged with the felony offense of public assistance fraud. Public assistance fraud typically a third degree felony but can be enhanced to a higher level offense depending on the amount of money involved in the fraudulent application. Many times the prosecution will seek the return of all of the money and the value of the benefits received.
For many people, public assistance fraud charges are their first introduction to the criminal justice system. We receive calls from people under investigation all the time that are afraid of the potential of ending up in jail or stuck with serious criminal charges. And we also hear from people who were arrested on warrants with no warning. Both situations illustrate the importance of retaining a dedicated Sarasota criminal defense lawyer to represent you.
One of the biggest concerns we hear from potential clients is the fear of being arrested. Public assistance fraud investigations can span months and sometimes years. Investigators can and will show up to your home and place of business, and if they submit your case to the state attorneys office, a warrant can be issued for your arrest without your knowledge. Often, sheriffs will show up to your home in the middle of the night and in front of your family to execute that warrant. People who contact us first can often avoid that terrifying situation. We focus on allowing our clients to make their own destiny. In some circumstances, we are able to negotiate dismissals or resolutions with prosecutors before they even file their cases. In other cases, we are able to monitor the issuance of warrants and ensure that our clients turn themselves in on their own terms and that they are set up with a competent bondsman before doing so.Speak to Our Lawyers Today
Consulting with an experienced Sarasota criminal defense lawyer can sometimes make all the difference on your case. You should never speak to a police officer or investigator without your attorney being present. If you are under investigation, call us today for a consultation at 727-897-5413.