Public Assistance Fraud Investigations
Public assistance is one of the most polarizing subjects in today’s political discourse. Conservative figures decry public assistance and welfare as one of the great evils of our society, and portrays those that rely on public assistance as worthless members of society. More liberal members of our society understand that those that rely on public assistance often do so reluctantly and out of necessity to provide for their families in a society and economy that otherwise doesn’t work for them. And when those people have the opportunity to move on from the near-poverty required to receive most public assistance, the reality can set in that the loss of public assistance will just thrust them right back into poverty.
This situation unfortunately results in many people ending up committing the crime of public assistance fraud. Many people who rely on public assistance do not do so for themselves, but for their children and vulnerable family members. Food stamps help put food on the table, medicaid subsidizes expensive medical care, and day care vouchers allow parents to work their way out of the low income brackets. However, when those hard workers make their way out of poverty, the threat of losing the needed public assistance leaves them with a difficult choice to make. If you or a loved one are investigated for public assistance fraud, don’t hesitate to contact a dedicated Sarasota criminal lawyer to aid you in this difficult time.Public Assistance Fraud Investigations
People investigated for public assistance fraud are overwhelmingly first time offenders who have never even come close to being in trouble with the law. Very rarely do those investigated for this offense even use their proceeds for anything other than food for their family or medical expenses. Nevertheless, the State of Florida will actively prosecute those who violate the law. The investigatory process can be long, complex and drawn out, so retaining a Sarasota criminal lawyer during the investigatory period can sometimes be the key to your case.
When a public assistance fraud investigation is instituted, you will be notified by the department of children and families. Often, you will receive an email or a letter describing the allegation and informing you that your benefits have been suspended, allowing you to challenge the suspension at an administrative hearing. Many people decide to handle this alone. This is a mistake, as the statements made during this non-criminal portion of the investigation can be used against you if criminal charges are eventually instituted. Even at this early stage, you should contact a dedicated Sarasota criminal lawyer to advise you.
If criminal charges are pursued, the case will be handed over to the investigatory branch of the Department of Financial Services. These investigators will often contact you directly along with your neighbors and employers to learn about your case. Because you won’t immediately be placed under arrest, these investigators are not required to read you your Miranda rights or inform you of what they suspect you of. Speaking to these investigators, especially without a lawyer present, can get you into a whole heap of trouble.
Finally, if the DFS investigators collect enough evidence of a criminal act, they will turn over the case to the State Attorneys Office for prosecution. If you have not consulted with a lawyer at this point, it is critical that you retain a dedicated Sarasota criminal defense attorney once this happens. The prosecutors will not reach out to you or inform you of what is going on with your case. They will simply issue a warrant for your arrest. A lawyer can help to slow or even prevent this from happening in certain situations.Speak to Our Attorneys Now
The attorneys at Hanlon Law are dedicated to helping those charged with crimes and protecting their constitutional and civil rights. If you have been charged with any crime, contact us today for a consultation at 941.462.1789.