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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XXX
SOCIAL WELFARE
Chapter 414
FAMILY SELF-SUFFICIENCY
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F.S. 414.39
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,

commits a crime and shall be punished as provided in subsection (5).

(2)(a) Any person who knowingly:
1. Uses, transfers, acquires, traffics, alters, forges, or possesses;
2. Attempts to use, transfer, acquire, traffic, alter, forge, or possess; or
3. Aids and abets another person in the use, transfer, acquisition, traffic, alteration, forgery, or possession of,

a food assistance identification card, an authorization, including, but not limited to, an electronic authorization, for the expenditure of food assistance benefits, a certificate of eligibility for medical services, or a Medicaid identification card in any manner not authorized by law commits a crime and shall be punished as provided in subsection (5).

(b) As used in this subsection, the term “traffic” includes:
1. Buying, selling, stealing, or otherwise effecting an exchange of food assistance benefits issued and accessed via electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards, electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card numbers and personal identification numbers (PINs), or by manual voucher and signature, for cash or consideration other than eligible food, either directly, indirectly, in complicity or collusion with others, or acting alone;
2. Attempting to buy, sell, steal, or otherwise effect an exchange of food assistance benefits issued and accessed via electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards, electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card numbers and personal identification numbers (PINs), or by manual voucher and signature, for cash or consideration other than eligible food, either directly, indirectly, in complicity or collusion with others, or acting alone;
3. Exchanging firearms, ammunition, explosives, or controlled substances, as defined in s. 893.02, for food assistance benefits;
4. Purchasing with food assistance benefits a product with the intent of obtaining cash or consideration other than eligible food by reselling the product, and subsequently intentionally reselling the product purchased with food assistance benefits in exchange for cash or consideration other than eligible food; or
5. Intentionally purchasing products originally purchased with food assistance benefits in exchange for cash or consideration other than eligible food.
(c) Any person who has possession of two or more electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards issued to other persons and who sells or attempts to sell one or more of these cards commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A second or subsequent violation of this paragraph constitutes a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(d) In addition to any other penalty, a person who commits a violation of paragraph (c) shall be ordered by the court to serve at least 20 hours of community service. If the court determines that the community service can be performed at a nonprofit entity that provides the community with food services for the needy, the court shall order that the community service be performed at such an entity.
(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, food assistance, an authorization for food assistance, a food assistance 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 assistance program benefits or for any form of food assistance benefits authorization,

commits 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,

commits 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, but less than $20,000 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) If the value of the public assistance or identification wrongfully received, retained, misappropriated, sought, or used is of an aggregate value of $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000 in any 12 consecutive months, such person commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(d) If the value of the public assistance or identification wrongfully received, retained, misappropriated, sought, or used is of an aggregate value of $100,000 or more in any 12 consecutive months, such person commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(e) As used in this subsection, the value of a food assistance authorization benefit is the cash or exchange value unlawfully obtained by the fraudulent act committed in violation of this section.
(f) 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 Families, 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 Financial Services pursuant to s. 414.411 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 assistance, 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.
(11)(a) Subject to availability of funds, the department or the director of the Office of Public Benefits Integrity shall, unless the person declines the reward, pay a reward to a person who furnishes and reports original information relating to a violation of the state’s public assistance fraud laws if the information and report:
1. Are made to the department, the Department of Financial Services, or the Department of Law Enforcement.
2. Relate to criminal fraud upon public assistance program funds or a criminal violation of public assistance fraud laws by another person.
3. Lead to the recovery of a fine, penalty, or forfeiture of property.
(b) The reward may not exceed 10 percent of the amount recovered or $500,000, whichever is less, in a single case.
(c) The reward shall be paid from the state share of the recovery in the Federal Grants Trust Fund from moneys collected pursuant to s. 414.41.
(d) A person who receives a reward pursuant to this subsection is not eligible to receive funds pursuant to the Florida False Claims Act for Medicaid fraud for which the reward was received.
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; s. 10, ch. 2010-144; s. 30, ch. 2010-209; s. 229, ch. 2014-19; s. 1, ch. 2014-119; s. 1, ch. 2016-185.
Note.Former s. 409.325.