Numerous California residents are in need of government assistance. In fact, the same can be said for people all across the country. There is nothing wrong with seeking help when it is needed. What is truly unfortunate, though, is that some of the individuals who utilize government assistance programs are accused of taking advantage of the system, and often end up facing charges for welfare fraud.
The simple truth is, yes, there are those who have used welfare benefits in ways in which the funds were not intended or who have applied for more than that which they actually qualify. Because of this, how other recipients use their allowances is often scrutinized. Those who are accused of welfare fraud face a myriad of potential penalties if prosecuting attorneys are able to obtain convictions.
Welfare fraud is, in short, anyone who purposefully makes false claims in order to receive government assistance. This includes those who do qualify but knowingly exaggerate their needs in order to achieve more than would otherwise be given to them. The penalties associated with a welfare fraud conviction include:
- Misdemeanor charge: $500 fine and/or jail time
- Felony charge: Fines up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment
An accusation of welfare fraud is not a small thing. California residents who have been accused of this may seek legal guidance from experienced criminal defense attorneys. With the right sort of help the accused can gain an understanding of all available legal options open to him or her, and make an informed decision regarding the best direction to take in his or her case.
Source: legalinfo.ca.gov, "Welfare and Institutions Code Section 10980", Accessed on June 21, 2015