Because Medicaid is so important to you and your family, allegations of Medicaid fraud can be hard on you and your family. Aggressive investigators want to make their numbers look good by accusing as many people as possible of abusing the Medicaid system. If they accuse you of wrongdoing, you may find yourself cut off from benefits and even facing criminal charges.
New York’s health care fraud laws
Medicaid fraud charges fall under New York’s health care fraud laws. These are state laws that are criminal. The laws prohibit purposefully doing things to try to get more benefits than you deserve. Intentional dishonesty to get benefits that you don’t deserve is called fraud.
Different charges for different amounts of money
There are several different charges available for health care fraud. All of them require you to purposefully say something that’s false in an attempt to get what you aren’t otherwise eligible for under the Medicaid system. Then, the severity of your charges depend on how much money you actually gain from the fraud.
If less than $3,000 is involved, you can face charges of only Medicaid fraud in the fifth degree. New York classifies health care fraud in the fifth degree as a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum time you can spend in jail is one year in addition to other penalties like fines. The amount of money involved is measured in a year’s time. If you get $2,999 in benefits in one year and then $1.00 more in benefits the next day, you can still only face charges in the fifth degree.
For more amounts of money, the charges get progressively more serious. In cases where you receive more than one million in benefits in a year’s time, you find yourself facing charges in the first degree. Fifth degree charges are the only misdemeanor charges for health care fraud. All of the other charges are felonies.
How can I defend myself?
If investigators accuse you of committing Medicaid fraud, their goal is to prove you guilty. They aren’t interested in working things out, and they aren’t interested in hearing that it was an honest mistake. That means, you shouldn’t assume that the investigator is your friend or that they want to work with you.
If you’re accused of Medicaid fraud, your best bet is to refer any questions about the investigation to your lawyer. If you talk to the investigators yourself, you can expect them to turn around and tell the jury. Of course, their version of events might be very different than yours. Your attorney can help you understand how the law applies to your case and help you handle any tense conversations with investigators.
Honest mistakes aren’t against the law
It’s important to remember that it isn’t against the law to make an honest mistake. If you forget that you have an account somewhere or the number of people living in your home isn’t accurate, it’s up to the state to prove that you made a misrepresentation on purpose. You have a right to a fair trial, and it’s up to the state to prove the charges against you. Your New York Medicaid recipient fraud criminal attorneys can help you tell your story to the jury in a way that helps them see that you just made an honest mistake.
Preparing your defense
An experienced New York Medicaid recipient fraud criminal attorney can help you understand how New York law applies to your Medicaid case. Medicaid fraud cases are often built on complicated evidence and a great deal of paperwork. You and your attorney can work together to create a plan to defend yourself. That might mean approaching investigators to give them the information that can help them see the truth. In other cases, you may need to present your evidence to the jury instead.
Your Medicaid fraud attorneys can help you in the event that state attorneys extend a plea offer. They can help you understand what the plea offer means and what the likely consequences would be. A plea offer might clearly be in your best interests, or it might not be so simple. In either case, your attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons.
If you’re facing Medicaid recipient criminal charges, your attorney is your advocate and teammate. The sooner you begin working with an experienced attorney, the sooner you can begin to unravel the mistakes and make a plan for your defense. Having the right advocate on your side can help you prepare a defense that’s effective and help you address the charges in the best possible manner.