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Criminal Jury Instructions

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4.1-14  Vendor Fraud -- § 53a-290, § 53a-291, § 53a-292, § 53a-293, § 53a-294, § 53a-295, and § 53a-296

Revised to December 1, 2007

Note:  General Statutes § 53a-290 defines the offense of vendor fraud.  The degree of the offense depends on the amount of payment fraudulently obtained by the defendant.  See § 53a-291 (1st degree: in excess of $10,000), § 53a-292 (2nd degree: in excess of $5,000), § 53a-293 (3rd degree: in excess of $1,000) § 53a-294 (4th degree: in excess of $500), § 53a-295 (5th degree: in excess of $250), § 53a-296 (6th degree: $250 or less).

The defendant has been charged with vendor fraud.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person commits vendor fraud when, with intent to defraud and acting on such person's own behalf or on behalf of an entity, such person provides goods or services to a beneficiary under <insert the appropriate statutory reference and state program alleged>1 and <insert appropriate subsection:>

  • § 53a-290 (1):  presents for payment any false claim for goods or services performed.

  • § 53a-290 (2):  accepts payment for goods or services performed, which exceeds either the amounts due for goods or services performed, or the amounts authorized by law for the cost of such goods or services.

  • § 53a-290 (3):  solicits to perform services for or sell goods to any such beneficiary, knowing that such beneficiary is not in need of such goods or services.

  • § 53a-290 (4):  sells goods to or performs services for any such beneficiary without prior authorization by the department of social services, when prior authorization is required by said department for the buying of such goods or the performance of any service.

  • § 53a-290 (5):  accepts from any person or source other than the state an additional compensation in excess of the amount authorized by law.

For purposes of this statute, a "person" is defined as a human being and, where appropriate, a public or private corporation, a limited liability company, an unincorporated association, a partnership, a government or a governmental instrumentality.  Under our law, a person is criminally liable when (he/she) performs or causes to be performed in the name of or in behalf of a corporation or a limited liability company, conduct constituting an offense.2

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:   

Element 1 - Provision of goods or services
The first element is that the defendant provided goods or services to a beneficiary under sections <insert appropriate statutory reference>.  "Beneficiary" and "recipient" mean any adult or minor child receiving assistance under the provisions of <insert appropriate statutory reference>.3

Element 2 - Intent to defraud
The second element is that the defendant provided these goods or services with the intent to defraud a local, state or federal government agency.  A person acts with the intent to defraud when (he/she) deceives or tricks another person with the intent to deprive that person of (his/her) right, or in some manner to do (him/her) an injury.  The word "defraud" means to practice fraud, to cheat or trick, to deprive a person of property or any interest or right by fraud, deceit or artifice.  The meaning of "fraud," both in its legal usage and its common usage, is the same: a deliberately planned purpose and intent to cheat or deceive or unlawfully deprive someone of some advantage, benefit or property.  "Fraudulently" means done, made or effected with a purpose or design to carry out a fraud.  <See Intent to Defraud, Instruction 2.3-6.

A local, state or federal agency includes any commission, agency, department, officer, board, council, institution or other agency of a local, state or federal government. 

Element 3 - For benefit
The third element is that the defendant provided such goods or services for (his/her) own benefit or for the benefit of any entity.  "Benefit" means any monetary or other advantage.    

Element 4 - Fraudulent action
The fourth element is that the defendant <insert as appropriate:>

  • § 53a-290 (1):  presented for payment a false claim for goods or services performed.  The state must prove that the claim presented by the defendant was, in fact, false.  In addition, the state must prove that the defendant fully realized and knew that the claim that (he/she) made was false or untrue.  No matter how careless the defendant may have been in failing to check the accuracy of (his/her) claim, mere negligence would not constitute a fraudulent intention.  Furthermore, the defendant must also have presented the false claim for the purpose of inducing the agency to rely upon it in making payment.  Thus, the defendant must have intended to deceive, and by (his/her) deceit, to obtain payment.  In addition, this two-fold intention must have been present in the mind of the defendant at the time that (he/she) presented the claim for payment.  If it was present at that time, a later formed intention to return the payment would be no defense.

  • § 53a-290 (2):  accepted payment for goods or services performed, which exceeded either the amounts due for goods or services performed, or the amounts authorized by law for the cost of such goods or services.  To "accept payment" means to acquire possession, control or title over the payment.  Actual physical possession is not essential.

  • § 53a-290 (3):  solicited to perform services for or to sell goods to any such beneficiary, knowing that such beneficiary is not in need of such goods or services.  A person acts "knowingly" with respect to conduct when (he/she) is aware that (his/her) conduct is of such nature.  <See Knowledge, Instruction 2.3-3.>

  • § 53a-290 (4):  sold goods to or performed services for any beneficiary without prior authorization by the department of social services, when prior authorization was required by the department for the buying of such goods or the performance of any service.  For you to find the defendant liable, the state must prove that, without prior authorization, the defendant actually delivered goods to, or actually performed services for, a beneficiary.

  • § 53a-290 (5):  accepted from any person or source other than the state additional compensation in excess of the amount authorized by law.

Element 5 - Value of goods or services
The fifth element is that the goods or services involved had a value that <insert as appropriate:>

  • First degree:  exceeded $10,000.

  • Second degree:  exceeded $5,000.

  • Third degree:  exceeded $1,000.

  • Fourth degree:  exceeded $500.

  • Fifth degree:  exceeded $250.

  • Sixth degree:  did not exceed $250.

In making this determination, you may add or aggregate the payments for the goods or services involved, but you can only aggregate amounts if the fraud was committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same or several persons. 

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant provided goods or services to a beneficiary under sections <insert appropriate statutory reference>, 2) the defendant provided these goods or services with the intent to defraud a local, state or federal government agency, 3) the defendant provided such goods or services for (his/her) own benefit or the benefit of any entity, and 4) the defendant <insert alleged fraudulent action>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of vendor fraud, then you shall find the defendant guilty.  On the other hand, if you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.
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1 These include § 17b-22 (provision of social services), § 17b-75 to § 17b-77, inclusive (state aid program, medical assistance, TANF, food stamps), § 17b-79 to § 17b-103, inclusive (same), § 17b-180a (TANF), § 17b-183 (TANF), § 17b-260 to § 17b-262, inclusive (medical assistance/Medicaid), § 17b-264 to § 17b-285, inclusive (same), § 17b-357 to § 17b-362, inclusive (nursing facilities/Medicaid), § 17b-600 to § 17b-604, inclusive (optional state assistance/SSI), § 17b-749 (child care custody), § 17b-807 and § 17b-808 (emergency shelters for homeless), and Title XIX of the Social Security Act.

2 General Statutes § 53a-11.

3 General Statutes §§ 17b-75 and 17b-290.


 

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