CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4676, the Preventing Crimes against Veterans Act, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 4676 was introduced on March 2, 2016 by Rep. Thomas Rooney (R-FL), and was referred to the Committee on Judiciary, which considered the bill on March 22, 2016.
H.R. 4676 would amend the federal criminal code to declare that any person who knowingly engages in any scheme or artifice to defraud a veteran of veterans’ benefits, or in connection with obtaining veteran’s benefits for that veteran, will be fined, imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.
In recent years, financial predators across the country have targeted veterans, many of whom are elderly and live in low-income housing. These criminals offer to help veterans with their cases, claim to get their benefits approved in record time, charge fees that are often in the thousands of dollars, and then provide them with little or no assistance. Some of this specific conduct – holding in-person seminars or meetings at a veteran’s home or assisted living facility – probably does not fall within the confines of the mail or wire fraud statutes, as it would if the fraudster called a veteran on the phone, sent them an email, or mailed them a letter with the intent to defraud.
This legislation will ensure fraudsters that engage in schemes to defraud veterans of their benefits, or in connection with obtaining a veteran’s benefits, are punished by imposing a fine, imprisonment, or both.
A CBO cost estimate is not currently available.
For questions or further information please contact Robert Goad with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1831.