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Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

2127. Fraud

2127.1 What are the penalties for fraud?

Penalties for fraud include possible fines and imprisonment.

2127.2 What actions are considered fraudulent?

Penalties are imposed if a person with intent to defraud:

  1. Willfully and knowingly deceives, misleads, or threatens any claimant, prospective claimant, or beneficiary regarding benefits by word, circular, letter, or advertisement;

  2. Knowingly charges or collects, whether directly or indirectly, any fee more than the maximum fee set by the Commissioner of Social Security;

  3. Makes false statements or misrepresentations in applying for benefits;

  4. Makes false statements or misrepresentations of material facts at any time if for use in determining benefit rights;

  5. Conceals, or fails to reveal, information about events affecting initial or continued right to benefits or the amount of payment; or

  6. Converts payments received on behalf of another to a use other than for the use and benefit of the eligible person.

Last Revised: March, 2001

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