Food stamp fraud, or illegally obtaining or selling food stamps, is a criminal offense in both Nevada and in the United States. Food stamps are generally funded through the federal government but there are state programs as well. NRS 207.340 is the Nevada statute which makes it a crime to fraudulently obtain food stamps.
In Nevada, it is a crime to purchase or sell food stamps to another person who is not authorized to use the food stamps with the knowledge that the benefits being obtained or sold are food stamps.
It is important that this statute applies both those who illegally buy and sell food stamps.
If you or a loved one have been charged with this crime in Nevada, it is important to remember that the burden is proof is upon the State of Nevada to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you have committed the crime. Most crimes have defenses that can be raised to refute the state’s argument. An experienced attorney may raise the following defenses against a charge of illegally obtaining food stamps benefits:
The penalty for violating NRS 207.340 is separated into tiers. If the total value of the food stamp benefits acquired or sold illegally is less than $650 it is a misdemeanor crime. As such, if convicted, a person can face:
If the total value of the food stamp benefits illegally obtained or sold is more than $650, the penalty is a class E felony, as such, if convicted, a person can face:
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In regard to class E felonies, Nevada requires that, upon conviction of a class E felony, that the jail sentence be suspend the sentence and grant probation, which may include no more than 1 year in jail. A suspended sentence is a sentence that is postponed in favor of probation. If the person successfully completes probation, which again, could include up to 1 year in county jail, they will not have to serve the full jail sentence imposed by the court for the class E felony, which is between 1-4 years in state prison.
The deciding determination in whether food stamp fraud is a misdemeanor, or a class E felony is the amount of illegally obtained benefits. The statute provides guidelines on how to determine the amount of illegally obtained benefits. These are:
If you have been charged with violating NRS 207.340, now is the time for action. Contact an experienced and skilled Las Vegas criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.
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