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Name: People v. Fortune
Case #: A107402
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 05/23/2005

A trial court properly discounted fraudulently received cash benefits in calculating the amount of restitution owed for fraudulently received food stamps. The defendant here was convicted of welfare fraud, and the charges against her included both fraudulently obtained cash aid and fraudulently obtained food stamps. She was ordered to pay restitution for both types of aid, but the People appealed the restitution order in regard to the food stamps, arguing that the court had improperly refused to consider the amount of the cash aid in considering her income for purposes of receiving food stamps. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The amount of restitution to be paid in a welfare fraud proceeding is determined by subtracting the amount of aid the government would have paid absent the fraud from the amount actually paid. The government had included the fraudulently obtained cash aid in calculating the original amount of entitlement. Had no fraud occurred, the defendant would not have received those cash benefits; thus, those benefits should not be included in the calculation of what food stamp aid she was actually entitled to under the law.