NRS 207.340 – Overview of Penalties Associated with Food Stamp Fraud

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.

Illegally obtaining food stamps as a crime under Nevada law

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.

Defenses to illegally obtaining food stamps benefits under NRS 207.340

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:

  • Obtaining or selling food stamps is only a crime if you do not have authorization to sell or obtain the food stamps. If you are authorized to do so, for example if a husband is giving the food stamps to a wife, that is not a crime, as the husband is authorized to use those same food stamps.

Potential Penalty for illegally obtaining food stamps under NRS 207.340

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:

  • Up $1000 fine
  • Up to Six (6) months in a county jail
  • Repay the amount of food stamps benefits obtained or sold back
  • All three

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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  • No less than 1 year and no more than 4 years in state prison
  • Up to $5,000 fine
  • Restitution for amount of benefits obtained or sold illegally.

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:

  • Several separate acts committed within 6 months. So, if over a course of 6 months you illegally obtain $650 or more in benefits, it will be a class E felony. If you obtain than $650 over a 6 months period, you can be charged with a misdemeanor.
  • None of the individual acts are punishable as a felony. So, if you obtained the benefits in a way that is considered a felony, and obtained over $650 in benefits, it will be charged as a class E felony.

Charged with Food Stamp Fraud? Speak to a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney Today

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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Address: 400 S, 7th Street #401, Las Vegas, NV 89101 United States, 400 S, 7th Street #401, 89101, US, $$$ | Tel: + 1 (702) 623-6362

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