Brooklyn DA Busts 32 Alleged Welfare Fraud Cheats: Nearly $1 Million in Fraud Alleged
Fraud is a broad term that refers to a variety of offenses involving dishonesty or “fraudulent acts”. In essence, fraud is the intentional deception of a person or entity by another made for monetary or personal gain.
Fraud offenses always include some sort of false statement, misrepresentation, or deceitful conduct. The main purpose of fraud is to gain something of value (usually money or property) by misleading or deceiving someone into thinking something which the fraud perpetrator knows to be false. While not every instance of dishonesty is fraud, knowing the warning signs may help stop someone from gaining any unfair advantage over your personal, financial, or business affairs.
According to the Brooklyn (Kings County) District Attorney’s Office, 32 people have been arrested and indicted in connection to individual incidents of Welfare Fraud amounting to nearly $1 million. Although not part of a ring, these individuals face varying felonies including Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree (NY PL 158.20) and Third Degree (158.15), Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (NY PL 155.40) and Third Degree (155.25) as well as multiple counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (NY PL 175.35). Whether or not they are first time offenders, the crimes range from “E,” “D,” and “C” felonies punishable by up to 4, 7 and 15 years respectively.
According to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office: “The largest theft is charged to defendant 37, who collected $460,000 in Medicaid benefits for herself and her two children, between 2004 and 2009. Defendant is charged with claiming to be a single mother on assistance applications, when in fact, her husband, with whom she lived, was employed as a technician at a Cadillac dealership – earning $70,000 in 2009 – and she worked at Brooks Brothers.”
“Another defendant, 35, is charged with collecting $63,000 in Medicaid benefits, over the course of six years, despite the fact that her husband, with whom she lives and owns property, owns a clothing wholesale manufacturing company – AV Denim – and a real estate business, MDK Leasing. At one point in 2007, her husband’s checking account had a balance of over $110,000, and on an automobile loan application – she owns a Bentley coupe and a Land Rover SUV – she claimed annual earnings of $500,000, according to the indictment.”
Laws against fraud vary from state to state, and can be criminal or civil in nature. Criminal fraud requires criminal intent on the part of the perpetrator, and is punishable by fines or imprisonment. Civil fraud, on the other hand, applies more broadly to circumstances where bad-faith is usually involved, and where the penalties are meant to punish the perpetrator and put the victim back in the same position before the fraud took place.
While the exact wording of fraud charges varies among state and federal laws. the essential elements needed to prove a fraud claim in general include: (1) a misrepresentation of a material fact; (2) by a person or entity who knows or believes it to be false; (3) to a person or entity who justifiably relies on the misrepresentation; and (4) actual injury or loss resulting from his or her reliance. Most states require that each element be proven with “particularity” — meaning that each and every element must be separately proven for a fraud charge to stand.
Insurance fraud refers to any duplicitous act performed with the intent to obtain an improper payment from an insurer. Insurance fraud is committed by individuals from all walks of life. Law enforcement officials have prosecuted doctors, lawyers, chiropractors, car salesmen, insurance agents and people in positions of trust. Anyone who seeks to benefit from insurance through making inflated or false claims of loss or injury can be prosecuted.
If you are a victim of fraud seek the legal advice of a New York Criminal Attorney and New York Fraud Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associates in order to know what legal action you can file.