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California Welfare and Institutions Code 10980 Welfare Fraud

Welfare Institutions Code 10980 Welfare Fraud

Under California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 10980 welfare fraud is an act of unlawfully obtaining welfare benefits from the government by intentionally submitting false information or withholding relevant information or.

Forms of Welfare Fraud Under California W&I Code 10980

According to California W&I Code 10980, defendant can commit welfare fraud in different forms, including: 

  • Defendant deliberately misstated information for receiving benefits
  • Defendant  failed to provide relevant information  for receiving benefits
  • Defendant used more than one name when applied for the benefits 
  • Defendant filed numerous applications for obtaining multiple benefits
  • Defendant  purchased, used, transferred or possessed counterfeit food stamps

Types of California Welfare Fraud

Generally California welfare fraud can be classed to two main types: recipient welfare fraud or internal fraud.

What is Considered as Recipient Fraud in California?

Recipient fraud involves any attempt to receive, secure, retain, or increase a benefit by means of submitting wrongful, incomplete or misleading information. Recipient fraud examples include:

  • Not reporting additional income or benefits.
  • Claiming a fictitious or ineligible child.
  • Claiming to be a single dad or mom when both parents actually live at the same residence.
  • Collection benefits from two states at the same time.

What is Considered as Internal Fraud in California?

Internal fraud is committed by an employee of a government welfare agency. This occurs when the workers are unlawfully disbursing welfare benefits to themselves, their family members or friends. 

California Welfare Fraud Investigation Process

Prosecuting agencies in California receive welfare fraud cases from different sources, as public hotlines and websites, local agencies and any other agencies that suspect welfare fraud. Welfare fraud investigations start from gathering evidence and information in welfare fraud cases, including:

  • Contacting and speaking directly with welfare benefit recipients
  • Contacting and speaking with family members, friends, co-workers, employers
  • Examining welfare benefit applications and person’s income trends.

The investigator presents relevant information to a deputy district attorney who will determine whether a criminal filing is appropriate or not. District attorney can do one of the following: 

  • File criminal charges under WIC Section 10980
  • Return the case to the investigator for gathering more information,
  • Reject the case 

Penalties for Welfare and Institutions Code 10980 Conviction

According to California WIC Section 10980, welfare fraud is a wobbler and can either be filed as a misdemeanor or felony crime and the type of charges depend of the value of benefits defendant’s criminal history.

False or Misleading Statements in Welfare Fraud

In case the defendant made false or misleading statement for obtaining benefits, he will face:

  • Up to six months in a jail and
  • A fine of maximum $500 

Fraudulent Application in Welfare

Defendant will be convicted for feeling fraudulent application in case:

  • He has filed multiple applications,
  • He has applied for benefits under a fake name or false identification or
  • He has filled application for a fictitious person

Penalties for Felony Welfare and Institutions Code 10980 Conviction

Fraudulent application can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense. Penalties for felony Welfare and Institutions Code 10980 conviction include:

  • Sixteen months, two or three years in a county jail, 
  • A fine up to $5,000 

Penalties for Misdemeanor Welfare and Institutions Code 10980 Conviction

Penalties for misdemeanor Welfare and Institutions Code 10980 conviction are the following:

  • Up to one year in a jail, 
  • A fine up to $1,000 

Fraudulently Obtaining or Retaining Benefits

In case the total value of the benefit is $950 or less obtaining or retaining fraudulent benefits is a misdemeanor, and is punishable by:

  • Up to six months in jail, 
  • A fine up to $500 

In case the total value of the benefit was more than $950, the defendant will face felony, punishable by:

  • Sixteen months, two or three years in a county jail, 
  • A fine up to $5,000 

California Food Stamp fraud

Selling, buying, or misusing food stamps is a misdemeanor in case the amount involved was $950 or less, punishable by 

  • Up to six months in a jail
  • A fine up to $500 

In case the value is more than $950 the defendant will face felony, punishable by

  • Sixteen months, two or three years in a jail
  • A fine up to $5,000 

People convicted of welfare fraud may lose their professional license, job, become disqualified to receive future welfare benefits.

California Welfare Fraud Defense Lawyer

Our California welfare fraud defense lawyers are here to answer any questions If you or a loved one has been charged with Welfare and Institutions Code 10980 and you would like to discuss your case confidentially with one of our criminal defense lawyers at (310) 943-1171.

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