May is Public Assistance Fraud Awareness Month. If you’re considering buying or selling benefits or “stamps,” please be aware that if you are caught doing so you could pay with a loss of benefits, possible fines and jail time.
We Are Watching
If you post in a public forum like Facebook or Craigslist, it is easy for others to take a screenshot of the attempted fraud and share it with us. Others are watching too: Craigslist is policing and removing posts. That might save you a trip to jail.
Sell Benefits, Buy Time
- Selling less than $100 in benefits carries a prison sentence of up to one year and fines of up to $1,000.
- Selling benefits can result in a total of 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
- One of the most common ways fraud is reported is by screenshots of social media.
- Selling benefits could result in a permanent loss of benefits.
Fraud Costs You
- Committing benefit fraud could cost you any future benefits.
- Committing benefit fraud could cost you your freedom, for up to 20 years.
Don’t believe it? Listen to the story of one Hamilton County woman who found out the hard way.
Applicants and recipients of public assistance programs are encouraged to report their circumstances accurately and timely in order to avoid facing potential criminal charges, program disqualification and repayment of benefits issued improperly. Residents of Hamilton County may report suspected public assistance fraud here, or by calling HCJFS at 513-946-2217 or going to www.jfs.ohio.gov/fraud.