Welfare fraud in the fourth degree is classified as a type of theft in the New York Penal Code. There are four types of welfare fraud crimes enumerated in the New York Penal Code, with welfare fraud in the fourth degree being the least serious.
A person needs to bear in mind that welfare fraud may result in criminal charges, both in New York superior court and in federal court as well. Welfare fraud can end up being a violation of New York state law and federal law at the same time.
Elements of Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree
The elements of welfare fraud in the fourth degree include intentionally committing some sort of act designed to obtain welfare benefits. The value of any benefit received through welfare fraud must be at least $1,000.
Examples of what constitute a fraudulent welfare act include presenting an application for public assistance that includes false information. Another example of a fraudulent welfare act includes pretending to be another individual in order to obtain welfare benefits. Finally, an example of a fraudulent welfare act includes making a false statement in order to continue or increase welfare benefits.
Example of Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree
An example of welfare fraud in the fourth degree involves a woman named Marcia. Marcia prepared an application for welfare benefits that contained patently false information. She submitted the completed, in accurate application to a welfare agency. The application was processed and approved.
Marcia ended up obtaining benefits over $1,000. In the end, Marcia faced charges for welfare fraud in the fourth degree.
Another example of welfare fraud in the fourth degree involves Edward. Edward had been receiving benefits, but would not qualify going forward in the future. Edward provides false information in order to continue to receive benefits in the future.
Sentence for Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree
The New York Penal Code classifies welfare fraud in the fourth degree as a class E felony. A person convicted of welfare fraud in the fourth degree faces the possibility of a prison sentence of up to four years. In the alternative, a judge could sentence a person convicted of welfare fraud in the fourth degree to a term of probation of five years.
When convicted of the crime of welfare fraud in the fourth degree, a person is also likely to face a restitution order. In addition, a judge may also include a fine in a sentence in a welfare fraud in the fourth degree case.
Defenses to Welfare Fraud in the Fourth Degree
An NYC criminal lawyer can provide a defense in a case involving a welfare fraud in the fourth degree charge. One defense to welfare fraud in the fourth degree is to demonstrate that the benefits received were not more than $1,000 in value. A person is not guilty of welfare fraud in the fourth degree if the value of benefits received does not reach the $1,000 level.
Another potential defense is that information contained in an application for assistance was not intentionally inaccurate. The applicant merely made an unintentional mistake in completing the application for assistance.
A criminal defense attorney can provide an analysis of possible defenses to welfare fraud in the fourth degree during an initial consultation with a prospective client. In addition, a lawyer will provide answers to questions a person might have about a case involving welfare fraud in the fourth degree. As a general rule, a New York criminal defense attorney does not charge a fee for an initial consultation with a prospective client in a welfare fraud in the fourth degree case.
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