Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter XVIII. Criminal Provisions.


§ 4–218.01. Fraud in obtaining public assistance; repayment; liability of family members; penalties.

(a) Any person who, with the intent to defraud, by means of false statement, failure to disclose information, or impersonation, or by other fraudulent device, obtains or attempts to obtain or any person who knowingly aids or abets such person in the obtaining or attempting to obtain: (1) any grant or payment of public assistance to which he is not entitled; (2) a larger amount of public assistance than that to which he or she is entitled; (3) payment of any forfeited grant of public assistance; or (4) a public assistance identification card; or any person who with intent to defraud the District aids or abets in the buying or in any way disposing of the real property of a recipient of public assistance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $500, or to imprisonment not to exceed one year, or both.

(b) Any person who for any reason obtains any payment of public assistance to which he is not entitled, or in excess of that to which he is entitled, shall be liable to repay such sum, or if continued on assistance, shall have future grants proportionately reduced until the excess amount received has been repaid. In any case in which, under this section, a person is liable to repay any sum, such sum may be collected without interest by civil action brought in the name of the District. Any repayment of General Public Assistance required by this subsection may, in the discretion of the Mayor, be waived in whole or in part, upon a finding by the Mayor that such repayment would deprive such person, his spouse, parent, or child of shelter or subsistence needed to enable such person, spouse, parent, or child to maintain a minimum standard of health and well-being. Collections of overpayments from TANF, POWER, or former Aid to Families with Dependent Children or former GPA recipients shall be made in accordance with rules promulgated by the Mayor.

(c) Any person who is a member of a family that applies for or receives TANF or POWER and who is found, by a federal or District of Columbia court or pursuant to an administrative hearing, on the basis of a plea of not guilty or nolo contendere or otherwise, to have intentionally:

(1) Made a false or misleading statement or misrepresented, concealed, or withheld facts; or

(2) Committed any act intended to mislead, misrepresent, conceal, or withhold facts or propound a falsity for the purpose of establishing or maintaining the eligibility of the family for aid or of increasing or preventing a reduction in the amount of the aid shall have his or her needs removed from the grant for a period of 6 months upon the first offense, 12 months upon the second offense, and permanently upon the third or a subsequent offense.

(d) The Mayor shall impose the disqualification penalties set forth in subsection (c) of this section upon any person who is a member of a family that applies for or receives TANF or POWER and who is found, after an administrative hearing, to have violated subsection (c) of this section, provided that only the person convicted of fraud shall be penalized and not the entire applicant family unit.

(e) The Mayor shall provide each applicant for TANF or POWER a written notice of the penalties for a finding of fraud pursuant to subsection (c) of this section at the time of his or her application for TANF or POWER.


(Apr. 6, 1982, D.C. Law 4-101, § 1801, 29 DCR 1060; June 30, 1989, D.C. Law 8-14, § 2, 36 DCR 3693; Aug. 17, 1991, D.C. Law 9-27, § 2(l), 38 DCR 4205; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-241, § 2(bbbb), 46 DCR 905; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-254, § 2(a), 46 DCR 1276.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 3-218.1.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-218.02 and § 16-801.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 101(l) of the Omnibus Budget Support Emergency Act of 1991 (D.C. Act 9-37, May 17, 1991, 38 DCR 3390).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 101(l) of the Omnibus Budget Support Congressional Recess Emergency Act of 1991 (D.C. Act 9-69, July 24, 1991, 38 DCR 4945).

or temporary amendment of section, see § 2(x) of the Public Assistance Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-25, February 27, 1997, 44 DCR 1778), and § 2(x) of the Public Assistance Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-77, May 27, 1997, 44 DCR 3181).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(x) of the Public Assistance Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-306, March 20, 1998, 45 DCR 1900).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(bbbb) of the Self-Sufficiency Promotion Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-372, June 9, 1998, 45 DCR 4270), § 2(bbbb) of the Self-Sufficiency Promotion Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-425, July 31, 1998, 45 DCR 5682), § 2(bbbb) of the Self-Sufficiency Promotion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-552, December 24, 1998, 46 DCR 521), and § 2(bbbb) of the Self-Sufficiency Promotion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-19, February 17, 1999, 46 DCR 2492).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 101(l) of Omnibus Budget Support Temporary Act of 1991 (D.C. Law 9-19, June 21, 1991, law notification 38 DCR 5786).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(x) of Public Assistance Temporary Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Law 12-7, August 1, 1997, law notification 44 DCR 4639).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(x) of Public Assistance Temporary Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Law 12-130, July 24, 1998, law notification 45 DCR 6501).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(bbbb) of Self-Sufficiency Promotion Temporary Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Law 12-230, April 20, 1999, law notification 46 DCR 4143).


§ 4–218.02. Penalty for violation of § 4-218.01(b); prosecutions.

Any person violating § 4-218.01(b) shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500, or by imprisonment of not more than 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Prosecutions for such violations and for violations of § 4-218.01(a) shall be brought to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by the Corporation Counsel or any of his or her assistants.


(Apr. 6, 1982, D.C. Law 4-101, § 1802, 29 DCR 1060.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 3-218.2.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-216.01.


§ 4–218.03. Unauthorized use of identification card.

Any person who sells any card or document issued by the District government to establish or verify eligibility for public assistance, or otherwise permits any person other than the recipient to whom it was issued to use such card or document to obtain public assistance which such user is not otherwise eligible to receive, shall be fined not more than $500, or imprisoned for not longer than one year, or both.


(Apr. 6, 1982, D.C. Law 4-101, § 1803, 29 DCR 1060; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-241, § 2(cccc), 46 DCR 905.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 3-218.3.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(cccc) of the Self-Sufficiency Promotion Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-372, June 9, 1998, 45 DCR 4270), § 2(cccc) of the Self-Sufficiency Promotion Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-425, July 31, 1998, 45 DCR 5682),§ 2(cccc) of the Self-Sufficiency Promotion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-552, December 24, 1998, 46 DCR 521), and § 2(cccc) of the Self-Sufficiency Promotion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-19, February 17, 1999, 46 DCR 2492).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(cccc) of Self-Sufficiency Promotion Temporary Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Law 12-230, April 20, 1999, law notification 46 DCR 4143).


§ 4–218.04. Prosecutions; subpoenas; witness fees; perjury; compulsion of obedience to subpoena; oaths.

(a) In addition to any power to bring criminal or civil actions or otherwise carry out the duties under this chapter, the Corporation Counsel shall have the authority to issue subpoenas for a witness to appear and testify or to produce all books, records, papers, or documents in any investigation into alleged violations of this chapter.

(b) A witness, other than those employed by the District of Columbia, summoned under subsection (a) of this section shall be paid the same fees and mileage that a witness is paid in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (“Superior Court”), but the fees need not be tendered to the witness before he or she appears and testifies or produces books, records, papers, or documents.

(c) Any willful false swearing on the part of any witness testifying about a material fact pursuant to a subpoena issued under subsection (a) of this section shall be subject to prosecution pursuant to Chapter 24 of Title 22.

(d) If any witness, who has been personally summoned, neglects or refuses to obey the subpoena, the Corporation Counsel may report this fact to the Superior Court. The Superior Court may compel obedience to the subpoena to the same extent as a witness may be compelled to obey the subpoenas of that court.

(e) The Corporation Counsel may administer oaths to any witness summoned in any investigation under subsection (a) of this section.


(Apr. 6, 1982, D.C. Law 4-101, § 1804; as added Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-254,§ 2(b), 46 DCR 1276.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 3-218.4.


§ 4–218.05. Penalties.

(a) Any person who knowingly uses, transfers, acquires, alters, purchases, possesses, or transports one or more food stamp coupons or access devices in a manner not authorized by the Food Stamp Act of 1964, approved August 31, 1964 (78 Stat. 703; 7 U.S.C. § 2011 et seq.) (“Food Stamp Act”), or by regulations issued pursuant to that Act, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined no more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than 180 days, or both.

(b) In addition to the penalty in subsection (a) of this section, any person convicted of a misdemeanor under this section shall be subject to suspension by the Superior Court from participation in the District of Columbia food stamp program for a period of one year consecutive to that period of suspension mandated by section 6(b)(1) of the Food Stamp Act (7 U.S.C. § 2015(b)(1)).

(c) Prosecution under this section shall be conducted in the Superior Court by the Corporation Counsel.

(d) For purposes of this section, the term:

(1) “Access device” means any card, plate, code, account number, or other means of access, which can be used, alone or in conjunction with another access device, to obtain payments, allotments, benefits, money, goods, or other things of value, or which can be used to initiate a transfer of funds under the Food Stamp Act or regulations issued pursuant to this section.

(2) “Food stamp coupon” means a coupon issued by the United States Department of Agriculture pursuant to the Food Stamp Act or regulations issued pursuant to the Food Stamp Act.

(3) “Person” means an individual, firm, partnership, group, corporation, institution, agency, or other entity, public or private.


(Apr. 6, 1982, D.C. Law 4-101, § 1805; as added Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-254,§ 2(c), 46 DCR 1276.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 3-218.5.


§ 4–218.06. Suspension, revocation, or denial of a business license or permit.

(a) The Mayor is authorized to suspend, revoke, or deny the issuance or renewal of any business license or permit of any person or entity convicted of food stamp trafficking under this section, the Food Stamp Act, or regulations issued pursuant to the Food Stamp Act.

(b) Prior to the suspension, revocation, or denial of any business license or permit, the affected party shall be given notice, and shall be offered an opportunity to present evidence, and to be heard concerning the proposed action.

(c) In any hearing pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, a conviction shall create a presumption that the person or entity convicted of food stamp trafficking is unfit to hold the business license or permit at issue.


(Apr. 6, 1982, D.C. Law 4-101, § 1806; as added Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-254,§ 2(d), 46 DCR 1276.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 3-218.6.