July 21, 2018
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The Florida Statutes

The 2009 Florida Statutes

Title XXX
SOCIAL WELFARE
Chapter 414
FAMILY SELF-SUFFICIENCY
View Entire Chapter
Section 414.39, Florida Statutes 2009

414.39  Fraud.--

(1)  Any person who knowingly:

(a)  Fails, by false statement, misrepresentation, impersonation, or other fraudulent means, to disclose a material fact used in making a determination as to such person's qualification to receive public assistance under any state or federally funded assistance program;

(b)  Fails to disclose a change in circumstances in order to obtain or continue to receive any such public assistance to which he or she is not entitled or in an amount larger than that to which he or she is entitled; or

(c)  Aids and abets another person in the commission of any such act,

is guilty of a crime and shall be punished as provided in subsection (5).

(2)  Any person who knowingly:

(a)  Uses, transfers, acquires, traffics, alters, forges, or possesses, or

(b)  Attempts to use, transfer, acquire, traffic, alter, forge, or possess, or

(c)  Aids and abets another person in the use, transfer, acquisition, traffic, alteration, forgery, or possession of,

a food stamp, a food stamp identification card, an authorization, including, but not limited to, an electronic authorization, for the purchase of food stamps, a certificate of eligibility for medical services, or a Medicaid identification card in any manner not authorized by law is guilty of a crime and shall be punished as provided in subsection (5). For the purposes of this section, the value of an authorization to purchase food stamps shall be the difference between the coupon allotment and the amount paid by the recipient for that allotment.

(3)  Any person having duties in the administration of a state or federally funded public assistance program or in the distribution of public assistance, or authorizations or identifications to obtain public assistance, under a state or federally funded public assistance program and who:

(a)  Fraudulently misappropriates, attempts to misappropriate, or aids and abets in the misappropriation of, a food stamp, an authorization for food stamps, a food stamp identification card, a certificate of eligibility for prescribed medicine, a Medicaid identification card, or public assistance from any other state or federally funded program with which he or she has been entrusted or of which he or she has gained possession by virtue of his or her position, or who knowingly fails to disclose any such fraudulent activity; or

(b)  Knowingly misappropriates, attempts to misappropriate, or aids or abets in the misappropriation of, funds given in exchange for food stamps or for any form of food stamp benefits authorization,

is guilty of a crime and shall be punished as provided in subsection (5).

(4)  Any person who:

(a)  Knowingly files, attempts to file, or aids and abets in the filing of, a claim for services to a recipient of public assistance under any state or federally funded public assistance program for services that were not rendered; knowingly files a false claim or a claim for nonauthorized items or services under such a program; or knowingly bills the recipient of public assistance under such a program, or his or her family, for an amount in excess of that provided for by law or regulation;

(b)  Knowingly fails to credit the state or its agent for payments received from social security, insurance, or other sources; or

(c)  In any way knowingly receives, attempts to receive, or aids and abets in the receipt of, unauthorized payment or other unauthorized public assistance or authorization or identification to obtain public assistance as provided herein,

is guilty of a crime and shall be punished as provided in subsection (5).

(5)(a)  If the value of the public assistance or identification wrongfully received, retained, misappropriated, sought, or used is less than an aggregate value of $200 in any 12 consecutive months, such person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(b)  If the value of the public assistance or identification wrongfully received, retained, misappropriated, sought, or used is of an aggregate value of $200 or more in any 12 consecutive months, such person commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(c)  As used in this subsection, the value of a food stamp authorization benefit is the cash or exchange value unlawfully obtained by the fraudulent act committed in violation of this section.

(d)  As used in this section, "fraud" includes the introduction of fraudulent records into a computer system, the unauthorized use of computer facilities, the intentional or deliberate alteration or destruction of computerized information or files, and the stealing of financial instruments, data, and other assets.

(6)  Any person providing service for which compensation is paid under any state or federally funded public assistance program who solicits, requests, or receives, either actually or constructively, any payment or contribution through a payment, assessment, gift, devise, bequest or other means, whether directly or indirectly, from a recipient of public assistance from such public assistance program, or from the family of such a recipient, shall notify the Department of Children and Family Services, on a form provided by the department, of the amount of such payment or contribution and of such other information as specified by the department, within 10 days after the receipt of such payment or contribution or, if said payment or contribution is to become effective at some time in the future, within 10 days of the consummation of the agreement to make such payment or contribution. Failure to notify the department within the time prescribed is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(7)  Repayment of public assistance benefits or services or return of authorization or identification wrongfully obtained is not a defense to, or ground for dismissal of, criminal charges brought under this section.

(8)(a)  The introduction into evidence of a paid state warrant made to the order of the defendant is prima facie evidence that the defendant did receive public assistance from the state.

(b)  The introduction into evidence of a transaction history generated by a Personal Identification Number (PIN) establishing a purchase or withdrawal by electronic benefit transfer is prima facie evidence that the identified recipient received public assistance from the state.

(9)  All records relating to investigations of public assistance fraud in the custody of the department and the Agency for Health Care Administration are available for examination by the Department of Law Enforcement pursuant to s. 943.401 and are admissible into evidence in proceedings brought under this section as business records within the meaning of s. 90.803(6).

(10)  The department shall create an error-prone or fraud-prone case profile within its public assistance information system and shall screen each application for public assistance, including food stamps, Medicaid, and temporary cash assistance, against the profile to identify cases that have a potential for error or fraud. Each case so identified shall be subjected to preeligibility fraud screening.

History.--s. 1, ch. 69-268; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 70-255; s. 354, ch. 71-136; s. 1, ch. 76-20; s. 2, ch. 92-125; s. 42, ch. 96-175; s. 218, ch. 97-101; s. 1037, ch. 97-103; s. 30, ch. 97-173; s. 9, ch. 99-333; s. 67, ch. 2000-153; s. 46, ch. 2000-165.

Note.--Former s. 409.325.

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