A New Hampshire state representative is being accused of committing two counts of welfare fraud. Each count is a felony offense that can lead to years in jail if the lawmaker is convicted.
State Representative Accused of Welfare Fraud
State Representative John Manning, who has represented the town of Salem in the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 2010, has been indicted on two counts of welfare fraud. While the 65-year-old Manning has not yet been arrested, he is scheduled to be arraigned for the accusations on April 13.
The accusations are serious. They claim that Mr. Manning made false statements that allowed him to collect welfare checks over the course of several years.
They claim that, in one instance, Mr. Manning claimed that his niece was living with him. This allowed Mr. Manning to receive $12,640.50 in welfare funds, including Food Stamps, between March 2013 and September 2014. In another instance, Mr. Manning is claimed to have collected $714 in welfare checks by failing to report to the Department of Health and Human Services that his son had gotten a job—an employment change that, if reported, would have lowered Mr. Manning’s welfare entitlement.
Criminal Charges are Not Criminal Convictions
At the outset, the important thing to remember is that these are criminal accusations, not criminal convictions, for welfare fraud. It merely means that prosecutors have convinced a grand jury that Mr. Manning committed the crimes. Importantly, grand juries only hear the prosecutor’s case, not the defense’s interpretation of what happened.
Only if Mr. Manning is convicted by a jury after a trial can anyone correctly claim that he broke the law. Until them, he is presumed innocent.
The Crime of Welfare Fraud
The laws of New Hampshire make it a crime for someone to intentionally make a false statement or claim in order to receive public assistance that they are not entitled to. This is NH Rev. Stat. § 167:17-b.
This is one of the rare crimes that you can violate by doing nothing. Like Mr. Manning is being accused of, you can break this law if you fail to report changes to your life’s circumstances to the appropriate authorities.
Despite the ease with which this law can be broken, the penalties are severe. NH Rev. Stat. § 167:17-c makes it a Class A felony to receive more than $1,000 in welfare funds, and a Class B felony to receive between $100 and $999. Convictions for Class A felonies come with up to 15 years in jail, while Class B felony convictions carry a jail sentence of up to 7 years. Both can come with fines up to $4,000.
Manchester Criminal Defense Attorneys at Tenn And Tenn
Getting charged with a crime can come as a surprise. But accusations, baseless or otherwise, can become costly criminal convictions if they are not vigorously defended.