Public Assistance Fraud
In recent years, the State of Florida and the federal government have aimed numerous investigations into public assistance fraud, with the aim of punishing people who try to take advantage of the system at taxpayer expense. Unfortunately, sometimes innocent people get accused of taking part in a fraudulent scheme. If you or someone close to you is facing an investigation or prosecution, it is critical that you speak to an experienced Tampa public assistance fraud lawyer as soon as you can. At Hanlon Law, we have the experience, skill, and knowledge to handle complex cases. Fraud lawyer Will Hanlon can develop a strategy for you, even if you have not yet been charged.
It is important to note that the term “fraud” is used in both the civil and criminal court systems. In civil court, the plaintiff in a fraud case must convince the jury of their case against the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence. Typically, the plaintiff in such a case is a business or individual who believes that the defendant has obtained some type of service or monetary gain through an act of deception. In some situations, a governmental entity may bring a civil fraud case, or an individual may file a case on behalf of the government via a qui tam action. If the plaintiff in a civil fraud lawsuit wins, the defendant may be ordered to repay the funds that they wrongfully obtained through the fraud, along with other damages such as attorney fees, litigation costs, and sometimes punitive damages.The Prosecution’s Burden of Proof in a Public Assistance Fraud Case
However, the crime of fraud is prosecuted by the government. In its simplest form, the crime of fraud may be defined as an intentional deception intended to produce a personal or financial gain. The State has the burden of proving the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a substantially higher burden of proof than the civil court standard of “a preponderance of the evidence.” If the defendant is convicted of fraud, they will face jail time, fines, and possibly other penalties.
When fraud is committed for the purpose of obtaining particular government benefits to which the perpetrator is not lawfully entitled, the defendant may face prosecution for the crime of public assistance fraud. No matter the type of fraud of which you have been accused, a public assistance fraud attorney at our Tampa office can help you determine your options and mount a defense. The State of Florida has a special law enforcement division that investigates allegations of fraud against the Cash Assistance/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, fraud and trafficking involving the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, aka food stamps), Medicaid and Social Security Disability fraud, fraud regarding disaster assistance or emergency assistance benefits, and fraud against school programs like School Readiness and voluntary pre-kindergarten.
The crime of public assistance fraud may be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon factors that include the aggregate value of the assistance that was wrongfully acquired based on a falsehood. Even a misdemeanor conviction may result in incarceration of up to one year, and felony convictions may result in substantially longer sentences, along with fines and other negative consequences. Convicted felons may face additional problems after being released from prison, including difficulty finding work and suitable housing. They are also prohibited from legally owning a weapon and forfeit many civil liberties, such as the right to vote or hold public office.Contact a Knowledgeable Public Assistance Fraud Lawyer in Tampa
Attorney Will Hanlon at the Tampa defense firm of Hanlon Law has represented the criminally accused in the Tampa Bay area for more than 20 years. To schedule an appointment to discuss how our Tampa public assistance fraud attorney can put his knowledge and experience to work in defending your case, call us today at 813-334-3910 or contact us online. Someone is always available to take your call. We also can represent people who need a theft lawyer or representation in fighting charges of drug crimes, sex crimes, or violent crimes.