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Illinois Criminal Code of 1961

Article 17: Public Benefits Fraud

Often a debate among political pundits, the crime of public benefits fraud is addressed in this section of Illinois law. If a person applying for state benefits misrepresents himself in order to qualify for eligibility, he or she can be charged with the crime of state benefits fraud. In addition, any institution, agency, or business that assists customers in executing state benefits fraud can also be convicted under this portion of Illinois law for facilitating the crime. The criminal code also specifically addresses fraud related to health care benefits, stating that a person is prohibited from using deception to obtain healthcare benefits from a provider. Punishments for these crimes vary greatly according to the amount of benefits falsely received, the highest status being Class 4 felony.

Need an Illinois criminal defense attorney? If you've been arrested for public benefits fraud in Illinois, call our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.

The text below comes from Article 17 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. This law may have changed -- please read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 - Article 17

Sec. 17-6. State Benefits Fraud.
    (720 ILCS 5/17-6)

(a) Any person who obtains or attempts to obtain money or benefits from the State of Illinois, from any political subdivision thereof, or from any program funded or administered in whole or in part by the State of Illinois or any political subdivision thereof through the knowing use of false identification documents or through the knowing misrepresentation of his age, place of residence, number of dependents, marital or family status, employment status, financial status, or any other material fact upon which his eligibility for or degree of participation in any benefit program might be based, is guilty of State benefits fraud.

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of State law to the contrary, every application or other document submitted to an agency or department of the State of Illinois or any political subdivision thereof to establish or determine eligibility for money or benefits from the State of Illinois or from any political subdivision thereof, or from any program funded or administered in whole or in part by the State of Illinois or any political subdivision thereof, shall be made available upon request to any law enforcement agency for use in the investigation or prosecution of State benefits fraud or for use in the investigation or prosecution of any other crime arising out of the same transaction or occurrence. Except as otherwise permitted by law, information disclosed pursuant to this subsection shall be used and disclosed only for the purposes provided herein. The provisions of this Section shall be operative only to the extent that they do not conflict with any federal law or regulation governing federal grants to this State.

(c) Any employee of the State of Illinois or any agency or political subdivision thereof may seize as evidence any false or fraudulent document presented to him in connection with an application for or receipt of money or benefits from the State of Illinois, from any political subdivision thereof, or from any program funded or administered in whole or in part by the State of Illinois or any political subdivision thereof.

(d) (1) State benefits fraud is a Class 4 felony except when more than $300 is obtained, in which case State benefits fraud is a Class 3 felony. (2) State benefits fraud is a Class 3 felony when $300 or less is obtained and a Class 2 felony when more than $300 is obtained if a person knowingly misrepresents oneself as a veteran or as a dependent of a veteran with the intent of obtaining benefits or privileges provided by the State or its political subdivisions to veterans or their dependents. For the purposes of this paragraph (2), benefits and privileges include, but are not limited to, those benefits and privileges available under the Veterans' Employment Act, the Viet Nam Veterans Compensation Act, the Prisoner of War Bonus Act, the War Bonus Extension Act, the Military Veterans Assistance Act, the Veterans' Employment Representative Act, the Veterans Preference Act, the Service Member's Employment Tenure Act, the Disabled Veterans Housing Act, the Under Age Veterans Benefits Act, the Survivors Compensation Act, the Children of Deceased Veterans Act, the Veterans Burial Places Act, the Higher Education Student Assistance Act, or any other loans, assistance in employment, monetary payments, or tax exemptions offered by the State or its political subdivisions for veterans or their dependents. (Source: P.A. 94-486, eff. 1-1-06.)

Sec. 17-7. Promotion of pyramid sales schemes.
    (720 ILCS 5/17-7)

(a) The term "pyramid sales scheme" means any plan or operation whereby a person, in exchange for money or other thing of value, acquires the opportunity to receive a benefit or thing of value, which is primarily based upon the inducement of additional persons, by himself or others, regardless of number, to participate in the same plan or operation and is not primarily contingent on the volume or quantity of goods, services, or other property sold or distributed or to be sold or distributed to persons for purposes of resale to consumers. For purposes of this subsection, "money or other thing of value" shall not include payments made for sales demonstration equipment and materials furnished on a nonprofit basis for use in making sales and not for resale.

(b) Any person who knowingly sells, offers to sell, or attempts to sell the right to participate in a pyramid sales scheme commits a Class A misdemeanor. (Source: P.A. 83-808.)

Sec. 17-8. Health Care Benefits Fraud.
    (720 ILCS 5/17-8)

(a) A person commits health care benefits fraud if he or she with the intent to defraud or deceive any provider, other than a governmental unit or agency, obtains or attempts to obtain health care benefits.

(b) Health care benefits fraud is a Class A misdemeanor. (Source: P.A. 84-418.)

Sec. 17-9. Public aid wire fraud.
    (720 ILCS 5/17-9)

(a) Whoever knowingly makes or transmits any communication by means of telephone, wire, radio or television, such communication being made, transmitted or received within the State of Illinois, intending that such communication be made or transmitted in furtherance of any plan, scheme or design to obtain, unlawfully, any benefit or payment under "The Illinois Public Aid Code", as amended, commits the offense of public aid wire fraud.

(b) Whoever knowingly directs or causes any communication to be made or transmitted by means of telephone, wire, radio or television, intending that such communication be made or transmitted in furtherance of any plan, scheme or design to obtain, unlawfully, any benefit or payment under "The Illinois Public Aid Code", as amended, commits the offense of public aid wire fraud.

(c) Penalty. Public aid wire fraud is a Class 4 felony. (Source: P.A. 84-1255.)

Sec. 17-10. Public aid mail fraud.
    (720 ILCS 5/17-10)

(a) Whoever knowingly places any communication with the United States Postal Service, or with any private or other mail, package or delivery service or system, such communication being placed or received within the State of Illinois, intending that such communication be delivered in furtherance of any plan, scheme or design to obtain, unlawfully, any benefit or payment under "The Illinois Public Aid Code", as amended, commits the offense of public aid mail fraud.

(b) Whoever knowingly directs or causes any communication to be placed with the United States Postal Service, or with any private or other mail, package or delivery service or system, intending that such communication be delivered in furtherance of any plan, scheme or design to obtain, unlawfully, any benefit or payment under "The Illinois Public Aid Code", as amended, commits the offense of public aid mail fraud.

(c) Penalty. Public aid mail fraud is a Class 4 felony. (Source: P.A. 84-1256; 84-1438.)

   Return to Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 Table of Contents

DISCLAIMER: These excerpts from the law are provided for reference purposes only. Visitors to our Chicago criminal defense lawyer website should be aware that Illinois criminal laws have been amended many times and that Illinois crime laws posted on this site may not be current. In addition, Illinois criminal case law defines precedents for legal determinations that are not defined in the original laws.

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