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Illinois Criminal Code of 1961

Article 17B - WIC Fraud in Illinois

In Article 17B of the Illinois criminal code, legislators address WIC fraud in Illinois. WIC, or the Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children, is a public benefits program created to aid parents and their children in paying for food. However, any person who abuses this benefit can be prosecuted under Illinois law. Any person who fabricates WIC authorization, converts public funds for his or her own use, or uses the WIC identification information of someone else could find themselves facing criminal charges. Depending on the amount of money obtained in the fraud scheme, this crime can classify as up to a Class 1 Felony.

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

The text below comes from Article 17B 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 17B

(720 ILCS 5/17B-0.05)

Sec. 17B-0.05. Re-enactment; findings; purposes.

(a) The General Assembly finds and declares that:

(1) Section 50-5 of Public Act 88-680, effective January 1, 1995, contained provisions adding the WIC Fraud Article to the Criminal Code of 1961. Section 50-5 also contained other provisions.

(2) In addition, Public Act 88-680 was entitled "An Act to create a Safe Neighborhoods Law". (i) Article 5 was entitled JUVENILE JUSTICE and amended the Juvenile Court Act of 1987. (ii) Article 15 was entitled GANGS and amended various provisions of the Criminal Code of 1961 and the Unified Code of Corrections. (iii) Article 20 was entitled ALCOHOL ABUSE and amended various provisions of the Illinois Vehicle Code. (iv) Article 25 was entitled DRUG ABUSE and amended the Cannabis Control Act and the Illinois Controlled Substances Act. (v) Article 30 was entitled FIREARMS and amended the Criminal Code of 1961 and the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. (vi) Article 35 amended the Criminal Code of 1961, the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act, and the Unified Code of Corrections. (vii) Article 40 amended the Criminal Code of 1961 to increase the penalty for compelling organization membership of persons. (viii) Article 45 created the Secure Residential Youth Care Facility Licensing Act and amended the State Finance Act, the Juvenile Court Act of 1987, the Unified Code of Corrections, and the Private Correctional Facility Moratorium Act. (ix) Article 50 amended the WIC Vendor Management Act, the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act, the Juvenile Court Act of 1987, the Criminal Code of 1961, the Wrongs to Children Act, and the Unified Code of Corrections.

(3) On September 22, 1998, the Third District Appellate Court in People v. Dainty, 701 N.E. 2d 118, ruled that Public Act 88-680 violates the single subject clause of the Illinois Constitution (Article IV, Section 8 (d)) and was unconstitutional in its entirety. As of the time this amendatory Act of 1999 was prepared, People v. Dainty was still subject to appeal.

(4) WIC fraud is a vital concern to the people of this State and the validity of future prosecutions under the WIC fraud provisions of the Criminal Code of 1961 is in grave doubt.

(b) It is the purpose of this amendatory Act of 1999 to prevent or minimize any problems relating to prosecutions for WIC fraud that may result from challenges to the constitutional validity of Public Act 88-680 by re-enacting the Sections relating to WIC fraud that were included in Public Act 88-680.

(c) This amendatory Act of 1999 re-enacts Article 17B of the Criminal Code of 1961, as it has been amended. This re-enactment is intended to remove any question as to the validity or content of that Article; it is not intended to supersede any other Public Act that amends the text of a Section as set forth in this amendatory Act of 1999. Except for a grammatical correction in Section 17B-10 and a correction of the Section number to Section 17B-30, the material is shown as existing text (i.e., without underscoring) because, as of the time this amendatory Act of 1999 was prepared, People v. Dainty was subject to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

(d) The re-enactment by this amendatory Act of 1999 of certain Sections relating to WIC fraud that were enacted by Public Act 88-680 is not intended, and shall not be construed, to imply that Public Act 88-680 is invalid or to limit or impair any legal argument concerning whether those provisions were substantially re-enacted by other Public Acts. (Source: P.A. 91-155, eff. 7-16-99.) 720 ILCS 5/17B-1

(720 ILCS 5/17B-1)

Sec. 17B-1. Legislative Intent. Because of the pervasive nature of fraud in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (known as WIC) and the negative effect of that fraud on the People of the State of Illinois and those individuals who need WIC benefits, the General Assembly declares it to be public policy that Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Benefits Fraud be identified and dealt with swiftly and appropriately considering the onerous nature of the crime. (Source: P.A. 91-155, eff. 7-16-99.) 720 ILCS 5/17B-5

(720 ILCS 5/17B-5)

Sec. 17B-5. Violations. A person who knowingly (i) uses, acquires, possesses, or transfers Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Instruments or authorizations to participate in the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in any manner not authorized by law or the rules of the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services or (ii) alters, uses, acquires, possesses, or transfers altered Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Instruments or authorizations to participate in the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is guilty of a violation of this Article and shall be punished as provided in Section 17B-20. (Source: P.A. 91-155, eff. 7-16-99.) 720 ILCS 5/17B-10

(720 ILCS 5/17B-10)

Sec. 17B-10. Administrative malfeasance.

(a) A person who misappropriates, misuses, or unlawfully withholds or converts to his or her own use or to the use of another any public funds made available for the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is guilty of a violation of this Article and shall be punished as provided in Section 17B-20.

(b) An official or employee of a State, county, or unit of local government who willfully facilitates, aids, abets, assists, or knowingly participates in a known violation of Section 17B-5, 17B-10, or 17B-15 is subject to disciplinary proceedings under the rules of the applicable Illinois Department or unit of local government. (Source: P.A. 91-155, eff. 7-16-99; 91-357, eff. 7-29-99.) 720 ILCS 5/17B-15

(720 ILCS 5/17B-15)

Sec. 17B-15. Unauthorized possession of identification document. Any person who possesses for an unlawful purpose another person's identification document issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services is guilty of a Class 4 felony. For purposes of this Section, "identification document" includes, but is not limited to, an authorization to participate in the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) or a card or other document that identifies a person as being entitled to benefits in the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). (Source: P.A. 91-155, eff. 7-16-99.) 720 ILCS 5/17B-20

(720 ILCS 5/17B-20)

Sec. 17B-20. Penalties.

(a) If a person, firm, corporation, association, agency, institution, or other legal entity is found by a court to have engaged in an act, practice, or course of conduct declared unlawful under Sections 17B-5 or 17B-15 of this Article and:

(1) the total amount of money involved in the violation, including the monetary value of the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Instruments and the value of commodities, is less than $150, the violation is a Class A misdemeanor;

(2) the total amount of money involved in the violation, including the monetary value of the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Instruments and the value of commodities, is $150 or more but less than $1,000, the violation is a Class 4 felony;

(3) the total amount of money involved in the violation, including the monetary value of the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Instruments and the value of commodities, is $1,000 or more but less than $5,000, the violation is a Class 3 felony;

(4) the total amount of money involved in the violation, including the monetary value of the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Instruments and the value of commodities is $5,000 or more but less than $10,000, the violation is a Class 2 felony; or

(5) the total amount of money involved in the violation, including the monetary value of Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Instruments and the value of commodities is $10,000 or more, the violation is a Class 1 felony and the defendant shall be permanently ineligible to participate in the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

The State's Attorney of the County in which the violation of this Article occurred or the Attorney General shall bring actions arising under this Article in the name of the people of the State of Illinois.

(b) If a person, firm, corporation, association, agency, institution, or other legal entity commits a second or subsequent violation of this Article and:

(1) the total amount of money involved in the violation, including the monetary value of the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Instruments and the value of commodities, is less than $150, the violation is a Class 4 felony;

(2) the total amount of money involved in the violation, including the monetary value of the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Instruments and the value of commodities, is $150 or more but less than $1,000, the violation is a Class 3 felony;

(3) the total amount of money involved in the violation, including the monetary value of the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Instruments and the value of commodities, is $1,000 or more but less than $5,000, the violation is a Class 2 felony; or

(4) the total amount of money involved in the violation, including the monetary value of the Illinois Department of Public Health or Department of Human Services Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Instruments and the value of commodities, is $5,000 or more but less than $10,000, the violation is a Class 1 felony.

(c) For purposes of determining the classification of offense under this Section, all of the money received as a result of the unlawful act, practice, or course of conduct, including the value of any WIC Food Instruments, shall be aggregated. (Source: P.A. 91-155, eff. 7-16-99.) 720 ILCS 5/17B-25

(720 ILCS 5/17B-25)

Sec. 17B-25. Seizure and forfeiture of property.

(a) A person who commits a felony violation of this Article is subject to the property forfeiture provisions set forth in Article 124B of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963.

(b) (Blank).

(c) Property subject to forfeiture under this Article may be seized by the Director of State Police or any local law enforcement agency upon process or seizure warrant issued by any court having jurisdiction over the property. The Director or a local law enforcement agency may seize property under this Section without process under any of the following circumstances:

(1) If the seizure is incident to inspection under an administrative inspection warrant.

(2) If the property subject to seizure has been the subject of a prior judgment in favor of the State in a criminal proceeding or in an injunction or forfeiture proceeding under Article 124B of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963.

(3) If there is probable cause to believe that the property is directly or indirectly dangerous to health or safety.

(4) If there is probable cause to believe that the property is subject to forfeiture under this Article and Article 124B of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 and the property is seized under circumstances in which a warrantless seizure or arrest would be reasonable.

(5) In accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963.

(d) (Blank).

(e) (Blank).

(f) (Blank).

(g) (Blank). (Source: P.A. 96-712, eff. 1-1-10.) 720 ILCS 5/17B-30

(720 ILCS 5/17B-30)

Sec. 17B-30. Future participation in the WIC program. A person who has been convicted of a felony violation of this Article shall be prohibited from participating as a WIC vendor for a minimum period of 3 years following conviction and until the total amount of money involved in the violation, including the value of WIC Food Instruments, is repaid to the WIC program. This prohibition shall extend to any person with management responsibility in a firm, corporation, association, agency, institution, or other legal entity that has been convicted of a violation of this Article and to an officer or person owning, directly or indirectly, 5% or more of the shares of stock or other evidences of ownership in a corporate vendor. (Source: P.A. 91-155, eff. 7-16-99.)

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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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