Making a fictitious, fraudulent, or false claim against the state in Oklahoma is a type of fraud. In making a false claim, you are misrepresenting facts in order to obtain money or benefits. Here is what you need to know about this crime and how it is handled in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
False Claim Against the State Defined
A false claim is defined as any knowing claim or statement that is false and made for the purpose of defrauding another, or conspiring with another to do so. Most of these cases arise when a person files a false claim seeking money to which they are not legally entitled from a governmental agency. The type of state agency may vary, but uniformly, the claim is made to defraud a state agency in one way or another.
Here are some examples of how these cases arise. A false claim can arise out of a misrepresentation of financial need on an assistance application, seeking assistance or medical coverage that a person is not entitled to.
For example, a person may misrepresent their income in an attempt to qualify for food or housing assistance. Sometimes, a person may misrepresent their income when applying for unemployment benefits. False claims cases also arise when a party bills a governmental entity for work not actually completed or over-reports the amount of work actually done.
Oklahoma False Claim Statutes
Oklahoma has a number of false claim statutes. Some mandate criminal penalties and others mandates civil penalties. Sometimes, the crime is a felony in Tahlequah. Other times, the offense is a misdemeanor. However, both types of statutes can make filing a false claim a costly proposition.
For purposes of this statute, the term “knowingly” means the person making the claim:
- has actual knowledge of the falsity of the information;
- acts in deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of the information; or
- acts in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the information.
No proof of specific intent to defraud is required. This makes prosecution of these crimes much easier for the state.
Oklahoma law also prohibits all conspiracy to make false claims. So even if you are involved in one part of the conspiracy, you could spend time behind bars.
It is illegal for any person or entity to knowingly make or present any false, fictitious, or fraudulent claim for payment of any public funds from the state of Oklahoma or any of its departments or entities. This would be the case, if you were to falsely claim your income for example, to obtain state aid.
A false claim for payment of funds is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, up to two years in jail, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 359
That same law makes it illegal to knowingly make any materially false or fraudulent statement when applying for a job with the state of Oklahoma. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 358
That crime is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to a year in jail, or both.
It is also illegal to knowingly make a false claim to Oklahoma’s Medicaid program. Penalties include damages up to three times the amount of the actual harm done to the state and a fine between $5,000 and $10,000 for each violation. This is a civil penalty, but the penalty is quite high. Okla. Stat. tit. 63 § 5053.1
These statutes carry stiff penalties. If you are facing charges, you need the help of an experienced Tahlequah attorney as soon as possible.
Free Consultation: Tahlequah Criminal Defense Lawyer
Please contact a Tahlequah criminal defense lawyer to discuss your available legal options if you’ve been charged with making a fictitious, fraudulent, or false claim against the state in Oklahoma.
For a free consultation, call Wirth Law Office – Tahlequah at 918-458-2677 or toll-free at 1-888-447-7262.
Or, if you prefer e-mail, you may enter a legal question in the form at the top right of this page and we’ll contact you by e-mail as soon as possible.