Access Card Fraud

What Is Access Card and Access Card Fraud?

The Access Card is a state issued debit/credit card that allows the recipients to purchase appropriate items such as food or medical services. What used to be known as “food stamps” is now in the form of a state provided Access Card. Every state guides their own state programs in accordance with federal programs.

Pennsylvania Access Card:
Pennsylvania describes their Access Card in this way: “…If the individual cardholder is also the payment name for a cash assistance or Food Stamps case, the Access Card for Medical Assistance only is yellow; the Access EBT card is green, and if cash assistance and food stamps benefits stop, the green card will continue to be the Access card to  be used for medical services….”

Access Card Fraud:
According to Pennsylvania information From Oct. 1, 2011 – Sept. 30, 2012

  • There were more than 14,006 complaints received
  • 3,394 investigations
  • $9,762,234 saved

Penalties for Access Card or Food Stamp Card Fraud

  • Application by ineligible applicant, yet illegally qualifies – may have more than enough money
  • Applications may be stolen and approved by fraudulent means
  • Applicants may not realize they do not – or do qualify – resulting in confusion, as well as confusion with other state and federal agencies
  • Double application – applicants may apply in more than one name
  • Overstate number of family occupants – Access fraud is a form of welfare fraud and is hard to oversee due to the large amount of applicants
  • Access Card Results – Honest mistakes may result in lack of prosecution;
  • Intentional fraud may be prosecuted

Welfare Fraud

In California, New York, Texas, or any other state, it is possible to commit welfare fraud by claiming that you do not have income and by taking advantage of the welfare system in the state. Depending on the amount of money or the value of the medical services or food, it may be possible to avoid incarceration by making restitution to the state. In many cases, restitution is all that the state really wants. They are not necessarily looking to incarcerate the wrongdoer.

What is Fraud?

Fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual. The main goal of fraud by an individual is to gain something of value (usually money or property) by misleading or deceiving someone into thinking something which the perpetrator of the fraud knows to be false.

What are the possible consequences of a Fraud conviction?

In most cases and in most states, Fraud is a Felony. As such, possible consequences may include prison, restitution, volunteer work and fines. Also, one could be held to answer in a civil lawsuit for Fraud resulting in a money judgment and possible punitive damages.


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Michael S. Berg
Attorney At Law