Food Stamp Fraud Lawyer NYC
Your Trusted Food Stamp Fraud Lawyer in New York City
NYC Food Stamp fraud has been in fraud investigators’ sights for years. Still, the recent Human Resources Administration (HRA) policy changes to the food stamp program and food stamp benefits made thousands of New Yorkers the target of aggressive investigations and, in many cases, criminal prosecutions. If you or a family member is targeted for Food Stamps Fraud, call the Norman Spencer Law Group for a FREE consultation at (212) 577-6677.
What is Food Stamp Fraud?
Suppose you apply for food stamps (New York State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP]) in New York City and provide false information on your application. In that case, New York state will contend you have committed food stamp fraud. The most common example of food stamp fraud is the failure to disclose household income.
Our criminal defense law firm has handled numerous food stamp fraud cases. The most common scenario is when a couple separates, and the husband lives separately from the wife and children. The wife applies for food stamp benefits, now known as snap benefits, and only discloses her income but not her husband’s.
The problem is that even though they don’t live together, they are still considered one household unless they divorce or have a separation order signed by a judge. Even then, if the ex-husband supports the ex-wife and his children, this help must be disclosed. If you do not disclose these facts, New York considers it Food Stamp Fraud.
In other cases, applicants don’t disclose their income, and it’s just a matter of time before they are flagged for welfare fraud. This especially happens a lot with New York City workers.
The Bureau of Fraud Investigations of the New York City Human Resources Investigations is responsible for most food stamp investigations and prosecutions in New York City. When your case is flagged, an investigator will send you a letter asking you to appear for an “interview” and bring some documents. Call our criminal defense law firm office immediately for professional advice when you receive this letter. Do not contact the investigator, and of course, you should never speak with them as particular facts you give or tell them will be used against you if your case is prosecuted as a fraud case.
Unfortunately, we see unsuspecting people walking into this trap repeatedly only to make their criminal food stamp fraud prosecution much easier.
Degrees of Food Stamp Fraud
Food stamp fraud is considered welfare fraud, and there are 5 degrees of welfare fraud in New York:
- First-degree welfare fraud is when you receive over 1 million dollars. This is a Class B felony.
- Second-degree welfare fraud is when you receive $50,000 up to 1 million dollars. This is a Class C felony.
- Third-degree welfare fraud is when you receive $3,000 up to 50,000 dollars. This is a Class D felony.
- Fourth-degree welfare fraud is when you receive $1,000 up to 3,000 dollars. This is a Class D felony.
- Fifth-degree welfare fraud is when you receive up to 1,000 dollars. This is a Class A misdemeanor.
What If My Case Is Prosecuted?
Providing false information on a public snap benefits application is a crime. If the amount lost to the City exceeds $1,000.00, you will be charged with fourth-degree welfare fraud, a felony. Of course, this requires the Bureau of Fraud Investigation to refer the case to the District Attorney’s Office, which we always try to prevent. However, not everything is lost, even if your case has been referred to the DA.
Even at this stage, we can significantly minimize your criminal exposure and, in some cases, even convince prosecutors not to file charges. If you receive a letter or a phone call from the District Attorney’s Office, call the Norman Spencer Law Group immediately. This is the benefit of an attorney-client relationship.
If you or someone you know has been accused of food stamp fraud, call our New York City food stamp fraud lawyers today for an immediate free consultation.
Food Stamp fraud is one of the most commonly investigated types of public food stamp benefits fraud in New York these days. In New York City, the HRA is spending more resources on food stamp fraud than, for example, on call the Norman Spencer. Folks investigated for Food Stamp fraud always ask what penalties they face. Let’s take a look at this step by step.
Food Stamp fraud, put simply, is getting the food stamp benefits to which you are not entitled. Eligibility for the food stamp program depends on your household income. Most food stamp fraud investigations focus on people misrepresenting their income (or their spouses’ income). If you are caught cheating, the government will estimate how much you received in SNAP benefits and want you to return the money by paying restitution. Like in other types of public benefits fraud, there are two possible scenarios. You can resolve your case administratively, without criminal charges, or you can be prosecuted and possibly found guilty.
Administrative Resolution vs. District Attorney’s Office
If you resolve your food stamp fraud case administratively, there will be no penalties, and you can pay restitution to close the case without a record. However, if the case goes to the District Attorney’s Office, you may face multiple felony charges, such as Grand Larceny, Welfare Fraud, and Filing a False Business Document. The severity of the charges depends on factors such as the amount of money involved, your criminal history, and your specific conduct.
Possible Outcomes Food Stamp Fraud Cases
NYC criminal food stamp fraud cases can be resolved in several ways. If you have a defense, you may go to trial and be acquitted. However, if you are convicted, you will have a permanent felony conviction record and may even face jail time. Negotiating a plea agreement with the prosecutor can eliminate the risk of going to jail or having a felony conviction. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney may also be able to prevent a criminal conviction entirely.
Non-citizens convicted of food stamp fraud can face deportation from the United States. Professionals with licenses and certificates, such as teachers, can face disciplinary charges for public benefits fraud. Even if the case is resolved without a conviction, the Board of Education may still press disciplinary charges.
Norman Spencer: #1 NYC Food Stamp Attorney
Over the years, I have handled hundreds of public and SNAP benefits fraud cases in New York, many in criminal courts. I can tell you that with the right approach, there are undoubtedly many ways to prevent the most severe consequences of being charged with a crime. If you have received a letter from the Bureau of Fraud Investigations informing you that you are being investigated for Food Stamps fraud, call us today at (212) 577-6677 to set up an immediate free consultation before you contact the investigator.
Food Stamp Fraud FAQ
What is the penalty for EBT fraud in NYC?
EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) fraud in NYC is a serious offense that can result in criminal charges. The penalties for EBT fraud vary depending on the severity of the offense, the amount of money involved, and the defendant’s criminal history. The penalties may include fines, probation, community service, and even imprisonment. In some cases, the defendant may be required to pay restitution to the government or the affected individuals.
What happens after I talk with a food stamp investigator in NY?
If you are contacted by a food stamp investigator in NY, it means that there is a suspicion of fraud or misuse of the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. The investigator may ask you to provide documents or answer questions related to your eligibility and use of the benefits. It is important to be honest and cooperative during the investigation, as providing false information or withholding information can result in serious consequences. After the investigation, the investigator will submit their findings to the appropriate authorities, who will decide whether to take legal action.
What happens if you get caught lying for food stamps in New York?
Getting caught lying for food stamps in New York can result in severe consequences, including criminal charges and fines. The penalties for food stamp fraud may vary depending on the severity of the offense and the amount of money involved. The defendant may be required to pay restitution, complete community service, or serve probation or imprisonment. Additionally, if the fraud involves the trafficking or selling of SNAP benefits, the defendant may face federal charges and penalties. It is essential to be truthful and accurate when applying for and using food stamp benefits to avoid any legal consequences.