Do I need a lawyer for a welfare fraud case?

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Do I need a lawyer for a welfare fraud case?

I did not report extra income in the form of commission to the public welfare department for about 9 months. I only included bi-weekly income because my commission fluctuated up and down, and the gross was docked 40%. Plus, I did not know I had to report commission. I am a single mother, full-time student and worker who needs to know what to expect. What type of sentencing am I likely to get? Is there any way that I can get this off my record without waiting for a period of years? Should I speak with a criminal law attorney? In Philadelphia, PA.

Asked on November 15, 2010 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, I would speak with a criminal defense attorney in your area as soon as you can.  Welfare fraud is a very serious matter and maybe if the "fraud" was not intentional (you need intent to defraud) but rather a mistake or inadvertent then you can cut a deal as to repayment (making restitution) and possibly pleading down to a lesser offense or no offense if you are lucky enough.  Having some "muscle" behind you makes it a greater likelihood that you will be able to come out on top and obtain a lighter sentence.  Also, if you are charged and sentenced ask your attorney about expungement of your record and make sure that whatever you plead to may be expunged in Pennsylvania.  Good luck.  


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