Although most investigations conducted by welfare system agencies are civil, welfare fraud investigations are an exception. Generally, wrongfully receiving assistance is a crime. See Minnesota Statute 256.98; 256D.14; 393.07, Subdivision 10, and 609.466.
Welfare fraud investigations include investigations of clients and vendors, persons trying to receive assistance, and those already receiving assistance. Because these investigations are criminal in nature, the data collected is probably classified pursuant to Minnesota Statute 13.82, Subdivision 5. The data in an active criminal investigation is classified either confidential or protected nonpublic as in civil investigations.
Violations of the welfare fraud statutes may have both criminal and civil sanctions. Once the criminal portion is adjudicated or the prosecuting authority decides not to pursue the action, the criminal investigative data may revert to civil investigative data.