Food stamps fraud is the act of using fraudulent information to obtain food stamps. This program, also known as SNAP, for supplemental nutritional assistance program, is provided by U.S. state governments and issued to low-income people in need of financial assistance for food. The fraud part involves using wrong information to submit an application, applying in different states or selling one’s own food stamps. Since the punishment can be years spent in prison, it is important that you know more about food stamps fraud and how lawyers can help you.
What is Food Stamps Fraud?
There are different ways that you can commit food stamps fraud. One way is to fill out a SNAP application with false information in one or more categories. You could provide a false name, address, income or another piece of information in order to receive more money than deserved. Many fraudsters provide a lower-than-actual income amount to appear more needy. Withholding information is also considered to be fraudulent. Some fraudsters do not report their sources of employment and income, which may include property rentals, lottery winnings and bank accounts. Other people do not provide updates to their old application statuses, which include births, deaths, moves, new jobs, job terminations, etc. Even if they have not made any money recently, they must report all changes that have taken place. Some people go so far as to provide false numbers to people pretending to be their employers, family members or references. They provide addresses to companies that do not exist or fabricate work stubs to show nonexistent payments.
The general rule is that people can only apply for benefits in the state where they live. If they apply in other states, they are committing fraud. Also, some fraudsters sell the food stamps that they have already received in a process called SNAP trafficking. They sell these stamps in exchange for cigarettes, money or other benefits. Only the person who sends in the application and gets approved can receive benefits.
How Can I Get Punished for Food Stamps Fraud?
First, you lose all of your rights to receive food stamps in the future. Usually, the punishment is a felony in New York or at the federal level. You may be imprisoned for a year or more, depending on your situation.
What Lawyers Can Do
There are lawyers who are specially trained to deal with food stamps fraud. All good lawyers know that all good cases are based on evidence. So, lawyers must prove that their client is not connected to this type of fraud. They must know the rules and regulations of the SNAP program in their state. The program details vary from state to state.
In addition, the lawyers will speak to their client’s employers, family members, co-workers and all other people who may provide valuable information. They will search for many documents and come up with a defense to explain why certain events took place. A lawyer is the only helpful resource for anyone wanting to fight the food stamps law.
What is the Next Step?
The next step is to contact lawyers with the experience and knowledge to deal with certain areas of law. There are so many types of lawyers available for different types of clients. Medical or property lawyers are not the same as food stamps lawyers. They know nothing about the public assistance programs or legal regulations in the welfare industry. The qualified lawyers at Raiser & Kenniff know all about this type of law, however. Only legal professionals can answer all of your questions about your rights and the law when it comes to food stamps.