If you have ever lived paycheck to paycheck, as more than half of Americans do, then you know how much estimating, calculating, and budgeting goes on in your everyday life. Far from being a freebie, government benefits often make life more complicated instead of simpler.
How many people have struggled to make ends meet; getting a pay raise is bittersweet when your new job doesn’t provide health insurance benefits, but it does make your income too high to qualify for Medicaid. The emergency benefits provided during the COVID-19 pandemic have undoubtedly saved lives, prevented COVID infections, and kept numerous working parents and their children out of poverty, but they have also caused plenty of confusion. Do you have to pay back the child tax credit payments that the IRS deposits in your bank account at unpredictable intervals?
Perhaps the worst thing about public assistance benefits is the number of people who jump at the opportunity to vilify anyone who receives them. Police, bureaucrats, and busybody neighbors are ready to cry welfare fraud if you make a typo on a benefits application. If you are facing criminal charges for welfare fraud, contact a Los Angeles welfare fraud defense lawyer.
A $43,000 Mistake?
When filling out tax paperwork or applications for public assistance, there is always a possibility of making errors in calculation or other details on the forms. If it was an honest mistake, you have an opportunity to correct it. Intentionally falsifying paperwork in order to receive public benefits to which you are not entitled is welfare fraud, and it is a crime, just as intentionally presenting false information on your income tax returns is the crime of tax fraud. If the value of the government benefits you received as a direct result of the false statements is less than $950, then welfare fraud is a misdemeanor, but if it is more than $950, it is a felony.
An investigation led to the arrest of seven Tulare County residents on suspicion of welfare fraud. The defendants are as follows:
- Clarista Aldaco, 26, of Lindsay
- Gabriela Almanza, 31, of Porterville
- Erica Enos, 31, of Visalia
- Lenora Macagbra, 51, of Visalia
- Violet Pack, 34, of Visalia
- Rosie Renteria, 26, of Porterville
- Johnny Vallejo, 26, of Lindsay
The seven defendants allegedly received a total of $43,466 in benefits beyond what they were entitled to receive. It is unclear how much each defendant received individually, whether these cases are unconnected or whether the defendants are being accused of conspiring with each other to commit welfare fraud. Like all defendants in criminal cases, these defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Contact the Manshoory Law Group About Welfare Fraud Defense
A Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of welfare fraud or making false statements on benefits applications. Your initial consultation is always free, so contact us at the Manshoory Law Group in Los Angeles, California, or call (877)977-7750 to discuss your case.