Lemon Law

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Administrative proceedings to recoup an overpayment

Defendant was convicted of fraudulently receiving welfare benefits of over $ 400 in violation of Welf. & Inst. Code, § 10980, subd. (c)(2), and committing perjury by false application for aid, in violation of Pen. Code, § 118, based on allegations that she affirmatively omitted that her sons had moved out of her home. The Court of Appeal of California, Third Appellate District, reversed. The People petitioned for further review.

Administrative proceedings to recoup an overpayment of welfare benefits to defendant resulted in a determination that she had received the excess benefits because of administrative errors. Defendant argued that collateral estoppel barred the district attorney from proceeding on criminal charges. The court held that the purposes of administrative proceedings seeking restitution of welfare benefits did not differ greatly from the purposes of criminal prosecution for welfare fraud in obtaining those same benefits. Orange County ADA Lawyer At issue in a prosecution for welfare fraud was whether a person had obtained aid for a child not entitled to assistance by means of false statement or representation or by impersonation or other fraudulent device, pursuant to Welf. & Inst. Code, § 11483. However, the court of appeal did not adequately consider whether the administrative law decision actually determined whether defendant made any such misrepresentations or omissions and whether those misrepresentations or omissions caused, at least in part, the overpayments. The administrative decision left open the possibility that defendant made misstatements that were a contributing cause to the overpayments.

The court reversed the court of appeal’s judgment and remanded the matter to the court of appeal for further proceedings consistent with the court’s opinion, including reconsideration of whether the issues litigated at the administrative hearing and the criminal prosecution for welfare fraud and perjury were identical.

The appellate court held that provisions of the Los Angeles municipal code, which make it a misdemeanor for persons to establish, or operate, or participate in unlicensed commercial cannabis establishments are not unconstitutionally vague. Simply put, if a commercial cannabis establishment does not have a license, it is unlawful to engage in any of the provisions’ enumerated activities. Defendant was not entitled to dismissal based on the provisions being unconstitutional; Because the crimes constitute public welfare offenses, the prosecution is not required to prove the accused either knew the businesses were unlicensed or had the intent to operate them without a license. The trial court did not err when it found defendant could be convicted of violating the ordinances without requiring the prosecution to prove knowledge or intent.

Judgment affirmed.

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