A person who provides false information or withholds facts to receive assistance they are not entitled to or assistance greater than they are entitled to may be guilty of wrongfully obtaining assistance and theft. Public assistance can be in the form of cash assistance, food assistance, child care assistance, medical assistance, and personal care services.
People who commit welfare fraud often provide false information, false representations, and conceal information about employment, income, assets, residency, household composition and absent parents of children. Some people who commit welfare fraud also misuse or sell assistance and/or receive duplicate assistance in more than one state. Additional criminal activities often associated with welfare fraud are perjury and forgery. Any person who aids or abets any person of wrongfully obtaining assistance is committing welfare fraud. Even an attempt to wrongfully obtain assistance is welfare fraud.
Consequences of Welfare Fraud
Pine County takes fraud seriously and investigates and pursues individuals who commit welfare fraud civilly and criminally. The consequences may include administrative actions, program disqualifications, and criminal charges. Criminal convictions often result in sentences that include serving time in jail or prison, fines, restitution, probation, and community service work. Theft of public funds is a felony no matter what the dollar amount. Pine County pursues civil and criminal actions to recover assistance wrongfully obtained.
Reporting Suspected Welfare Fraud
If you suspect someone of welfare fraud in Pine County, you can call Pine County Health & Human Services at 320-216-4136. You can also report welfare fraud statewide by calling the Welfare Fraud Hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-627-9977 or Twin Cities Metro Area at 651-431-3968. You may remain anonymous.