Top Government Fraud Crimes of 2020
Few would argue that 2020 has been a typical, run-of-the mill year in Florida, throughout the US, and across the globe. From the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest to Tropical Storm Isaias and it being a presidential election year, most people would admit that they have been affected in some way by events in 2020. Fortunately, those hit hardest by financial issues have access to assistance programs, mortgage moratoriums, and government stimulus checks to carry them through. The Miami Herald even reported that qualifying individuals may receive additional funds as support.
However, there are many individuals who have resorted to fraud against the government as a way of coping with difficult financial times – or for many other reasons. These crimes are severely punished, so it is essential to work with a Florida fraud defense lawyer if you were charged with any of the following:
Tax Fraud: The most common allegations relate to the information you report on your individual income tax return and property taxes; businesses may engage in fraud regarding employment, sales, and many other taxes. Usually, the crime is making false statements or omissions on tax paperwork, which is fraudulent because it results in lower tax liability.
Unemployment Fraud: If you filed for unemployment after losing a job because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you should know that you are attesting to the truth of some information. This is the equivalent of testifying under oath, so there are serious penalties if you receive unemployment benefits on the basis of false statements – such as saying you have been looking for work.
Welfare Fraud: As a public assistance program, state and federal officials that administer different welfare systems are always on the look out for those who may defraud the government. Some of the most common types of welfare fraud include:
- Lying about receiving income from work;
- Failure to report amounts you receive from an inheritance, gambling, gifts, lottery winnings, or other funds;
- Not informing the relevant program administrators that an absent parent has returned or a child has left your residence;
- Failing to report all relevant assets, such as real estate or a vehicle;
- Using false identification to obtain welfare; and,
- Many others.
Bankruptcy Fraud: When hard times hit, more people will consider bankruptcy to reduce or eliminate the debt they carry. The forms you submit to the US Bankruptcy Court require you to be fully honest, so you could be charged with bankruptcy fraud for misinformation. Officials could charge you if you make a fraudulent transfer of assets or otherwise protect items that should be part of the bankruptcy process.
Count on a Florida Fraud Defense Attorney to Fight for Your Rights
Regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic or any other unusual events that may occur in 2020, law enforcement will meticulously investigate fraud crimes and prosecutors will aggressively pursue charges for those who violate the law. If you were arrested, please contact Fort Lauderdale fraud attorney Kevin J. Kulik right away to set up a consultation at our office. We can tell you more about your defense options once we review your circumstances.