In our experience, a food stamp investigation can take from one month to a couple of years. The most important thing to do is to hire an attorney so that you will not crack under pressure and will not provide incriminating information to the investigator.
The food stamp investigator’s goal is to get you to provide more information and to provide documents. They will continue working the case until they build enough of a case to take to court and secure a criminal conviction.
Some of what happens next is up to you. The most important thing to do is not to panic. If you would like to discuss the situation with an attorney, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. You can call us anytime at 718-509-9774.
No matter how long the food stamp investigation takes, the investigator may ultimately settle the case with no criminal liability. But they like to build a strong criminal case against you first. Which is something that you would rather do without.
And this is why continuing to speak to a food stamp investigator is a bad idea. Because you will end up providing more incriminating evidence against yourself.
But ignoring the investigation is also a bad idea, because it will not go away on its own, it will only get escalated to the District Attorney’s Office. That’s because even though they don’t have your testimony, they typically already have enough documentary evidence to build a successful criminal case against you. Here is the kind of evidence they might have:
- Records of everyone who resides in your household
- Records of everyone’s income
- Records of everyone’s assets
- Records of everyone’s addresses and actual physical place or residence and employment
- Records of usage of the benefits card
- Photos, videos and recordings that you don’t know they took
This is why the best way to resolve a food stamp investigation is to have an attorney handle it for you. Attorneys are trained to protect your rights no matter how long the food stamp investigation takes.
If you need an attorney, we at the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin are here for you. You can call us right away at 718-509-9774.
If a food stamp investigator sees that you are not following up, they may try to contact you. You can just tell them that you cannot talk to them. There is no need to worry about disappointing the investigator. They understand that remaining silent is your right no matter hold long the food stamp investigation takes, and that letting you remain silent is a part of their job.
It’s definitely not a good idea to back to them. Then you are just doing their job for them. Have an attorney follow up with them instead.
After you talk to a food stamp investigator the first time, think about this: was talking to them really a good idea?
An investigator has years of training and experience that you do not have. They know how long a food stamp investigation takes and they will take their time to try to break you. They have many strategies at their disposal. Here are some examples:
- They can pretend to be friendly
- They can lie to you
- They can threaten you
- They will try to get you to reveal incriminating information that can be used against you by the D.A.
- They can detain you
- They can show their true face and let you know what kind of trouble you’re really in
- They can work in pairs and play good cop-bad cop
- They can make you sign a statement
- They will record everything you say
- They can testify to what you’ve said
- They have the time to be persistent
And what strategies do you have? None.
- Do not talk to the investigator
- Do not be friendly with them
- Do not cry
- Do not give them excuses
- Do not try to show them that you’re a real person, not a criminal from TV
- Do not think that if you’re honest and provide all the (incriminating) information, they will let you go
- Do not tell them you’re a single mom
- Do not beg for their sympathy
- Do not tell them you don’t have money
- Do not tell them you didn’t know
- Do not tell them the children’s father and you are “separated” in your mind
- Do not tell them someone else told you to fill out the application this way
- Do not tell them you don’t know the language
- Do not tell them the change is recent and you didn’t have the time to report it
- Do not them you had no choice
- Do not tell them it’s the government’s fault
If you continue talking to the investigators, you will crack under the pressure. Everyone does.
Is there a way to beat a food stamp fraud investigation, even after I talk with the food stamp investigator? Read about the 9 things we always do in a Medicaid fraud investigation plus the 5 things you should never do in a New York City Medicaid fraud investigation.
Albert Goodwin, Esq. is an attorney who helps people who are in situations when they are faced with the possibility of having to talk with a food stamp investigator. He also represents clients in defending criminal charges associated with Medicaid and SNAP fraud. You can reach Albert Goodwin, Esq. at (718) 509-9774.