Pursuant to Article 177 of the New York Penal Law, Health Care Fraud in New York is one of the more serious offenses handled by New York criminal defense lawyers that almost mimics the Grand Larceny Statute. Depending on the amount of the fraud, like varying degrees of Grand Larceny, the crime can be elevated from a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail to a felony punishable by up to twenty five years in state prison (follow this link for further analysis of NY Health Care Fraud in the First Through Fifth Degrees and your criminal defense). Although this crime is certainly one that can have devastating impacts on one’s liberty and career, there is a an affirmative defense found in the New York Penal Law that may protect certain people.
According to New York Penal Law Section 177.30:
“In any prosecution under this article, it shall be an affirmative defense that the defendant was a clerk, bookkeeper or other employee, other than an employee charged with the active management and control, in an executive capacity, of the affairs of the corporation, who, without personal benefit, merely executed the orders of his or her employer or of a superior employee generally authorized to direct his or her activities.”
Somewhat similar to the statutory defined defense to Falsifying Business Records (a possible crime that one might face if charged with Health Care Fraud), this potential defense may be set forth if one is an employee, as described above, was following the orders of a superior and obtained no personal benefit such as compensation, time off, etc.
What is important to note, however, is that the above affirmative defense does not mean that one who fits the description above automatically cannot be prosecuted or convicted of Health Care Fraud. Instead, this defense can be presented and established by a defendant at trial where the statute would ultimately permit an acquittal if established.
The analysis of this affirmative defense is very brief and vague. If you are charged with Health Care Fraud pursuant to Article 177 and you believe this defense may be applicable to you or your circumstances, consult with your attorney to assess if and how this defense may assist you in your particular case.
The NY criminal defense attorneys at Saland Law PC represent clients throughout the New York metropolitan area. Founded by two Manhattan criminal defense lawyers who served in the New York County District Attorney’s Office, Saland Law PC is located in downtown New York City.