Subsidy fraud and misuse of subsidy

The main purpose of criminalizing subsidy fraud is to prevent the misuse of social support systems and to direct public funds distributed free of charge to the purpose for which the aid was intended.

According to the Criminal Code of Finland Chapter 29 section 5:

A person who

(1) provides an authority deciding on subsidy false information that is conducive to essentially affecting the granting of a subsidy or the amount or conditions thereof, or conceals essentially relevant information, or

(2) neglects to provide information on a change in circumstances that is conducive to essentially affecting the granting of a subsidy or the amount or conditions thereof, and a duty for the provision of such information has been expressly provided in connection with the decision to grant the subsidy or otherwise,

and in this way obtains or attempts to obtain personal financial benefit or financial benefit for another shall be sentenced for subsidy fraud to a fine or to imprisonment for at most two years.

The misuse of the subsidy is suitable for situations where the aid funds have been applied for and received for a proper purpose, but the recipient of the grant has decided to use them for something else. In order to enable the aid to be misused, the aid decision should contain conditions or provisions of the purpose for which the grant is to be used. If the grant were used contrary to this purpose, it would be a misuse of the aid. Misuse should be essential, i.e. in practice the usage of the money should be clearly distinguished from that for which it was granted.

The realization of subsidy fraud requires that the perpetrator has acted intentionally. The intent required of the author is that the author must be aware of the inaccuracy of the information and the essentiality of the incorrect information or, in the case of negligence of the obligation to report and the essentiality of the failure to do so.

The fulfillment of the intent required for the punishment of subsidy fraud is also linked in particular to the purpose of the aid fraud. The appropriateness of aid fraud presupposes that the perpetrator, by acting in the manner mentioned in the provision, acquires or attempts to obtain an economic advantage for himself or for another. In order for the intention to be fulfilled, the perpetrator must at least have considered the act of obtaining the benefit to be a certain or at least quite probable consequence.

The assessment of the right to compensation in this case is affected by the fact that the authority is required to recover the aid. What matters is whether the authority can simultaneously recover unduly paid grants from the Community and claim damages from the person responsible for the intentional crime. Preliminarily, such a situation, in which one is entitled to compensation in respect of one and on the other hand the right to recovery of aid in relation to another, can be assimilated to a situation in which two debtors are jointly and severally liable for a debt.

The joint and several liability of an obligation means the coexistence of liability, i.e. the creditor may, at his option, recover the full amount of the debt from either. The staggering of liability or the primacy of the liability of one debtor over another requires a clear specific legal basis. In some cases, section 21 of the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers imposes an explicit obligation on the State Aid Authority to recover unduly paid aid. The obligation to recover appears to constitute a specific legal basis for the staggering of liability and the priority of recovery.

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