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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE II EXECUTIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS
    OF THE COMMONWEALTH
  • CHAPTER 18 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSITIONAL ASSISTANCE
  • Section 29 Repayment of fraudulently obtained assistance; lien

Section 29. (a)(1) Whenever, by virtue of an investigation by the bureau of special investigations pursuant to section 17 of chapter 11, a person, hereinafter called an obligor, agrees to repay the commonwealth an amount of fraudulently or wrongfully received payments or services, or a court of competent jurisdiction orders that such an amount be repaid, such amount, including any accrued interest, shall be a lien in favor of the commonwealth upon all property and rights to property, whether real or personal, belonging to such obligor. The lien shall arise at the time the agreement to repay is executed by the obligor or on the date of the order or judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction and shall continue until the liability for the amount owed to the commonwealth, including any accrued interest, is satisfied or shall terminate not later than six years from the date it was created, whichever first occurs; provided that, the lien may be renewed by the commonwealth if the amount owed to the commonwealth and accrued interest is not satisfied after said six years.

(2) The lien imposed by this section shall not be valid as against any mortgagee, pledgee, purchaser, or judgment creditor until notice thereof has been filed by the bureau of special investigations (A) with respect to real property or fixtures, in the registry of deeds of the county wherein such property is situated, or (B) with respect to personal property, in the office of the state secretary. The filing of a notice of any such lien or of a waiver or release of any such lien shall be received and registered or recorded without payment of any fee.

(3) Even though notice of a lien as provided in this section has been filed in the manner prescribed in subparagraph (2) of paragraph (a), such lien shall not be valid with respect to a security, as hereinafter defined, as against any mortgagee, pledgee or purchaser of such security, for an adequate and full consideration in money or money’s worth if, at the time of such mortgage, pledge or purchase, such mortgagee, pledgee, or purchaser is without notice or knowledge of the existence of such lien. As used in this subsection, the term “security” shall mean any bond, debenture, note or certificate or other evidence of indebtedness issued by a corporation, including one issued by a governmental or political subdivision thereof, with interest coupons or in registered form, share of stock, voting trust certificate or any certificate of interest or participation in, certificate of deposit or receipt for, temporary or interim certificate for, warrant or right to subscribe to or purchase, or any of the foregoing, or any negotiable instrument or money.

(4) Where notice of a lien has been filed pursuant to subparagraph (2) of paragraph (a), the bureau of special investigations may provide, by regulation, the extent to which, and the conditions under which, information as to the amount of the outstanding obligation secured by such lien may be disclosed.

(5) The bureau of special investigations may issue a waiver or release of any lien imposed by this section. Such waiver or release shall be conclusive evidence that such lien upon the property covered by the waiver or release is extinguished.

(b)(1) The bureau of special investigations may collect such amounts of fraudulently or wrongfully received payment or services referred to in subparagraph (1) of paragraph (a) including any interest accrued thereon, and such further sums as shall be sufficient to cover the expenses of the levy, by levy upon all property or rights to property, whether real or personal, belonging to the obligor pursuant to chapters two hundred and thirty-five and two hundred and thirty-six. A levy shall extend only to property possessed and obligations existing at the time of such levy. Property specified in subsection (a) of section fifty-five A of chapter sixty-two C shall be exempt from levy hereunder. In any case in which the bureau of special investigations may levy upon property or rights to property, said bureau may seize and sell such property or rights to property, whether real or personal, tangible or intangible.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, any person in possession of, or obligated with respect to, property or rights to property subject to levy upon which a levy has been made shall, upon the demand of the bureau of special investigations, surrender such property or rights, or discharge such obligation to the bureau of special investigations, except such part of the property or rights as is, at the time of such demand, subject to an attachment or execution under any judicial process. A levy on an organization with respect to a life insurance or endowment contract issued by such organization shall, without necessity for the surrender of the contract document, constitute a demand by the bureau of special investigations for payment of the amount described in subparagraph (1) of paragraph (a) and the exercise of the right of the obligor to the advance of such amount. Such organization shall pay such amount within ninety days after service of such notice of levy. Such notice shall include a certification by the bureau of special investigations that a copy of such notice has been mailed to the obligor at his last known address. Such levy shall be deemed to be satisfied if such organization pays over to the bureau of special investigations the amount the obligor could have had advanced to him by such organization on the date prescribed herein for the satisfaction of such levy, increased by the amount of any advance, including contractual interest thereon, made to such person on or after the date such organization had notice or actual knowledge.

(3) Whenever any property or right to property upon which levy has been made is not sufficient to satisfy the claim of the commonwealth for which levy is made, the bureau of special investigations may, thereafter, and as often as may be necessary, proceed to levy pursuant to chapters two hundred and thirty-five and two hundred and thirty-six in like manner upon any other property liable to levy of the obligor against whom such claim exists until the amount due from the obligor, together with all expenses, is fully paid.

(4) Any person who fails or refuses to surrender any property or rights to property, subject to levy, upon demand by the bureau of special investigations, shall be liable in his own person and estate to the commonwealth in a sum equal to the value of the property or rights not so surrendered but not exceeding the amount due under subparagraph (1) of paragraph (a) for which such levy has been made, together with the costs and interests on such sum at the rate of eight percent per annum from the date of such levy. Any amount, other than costs, recovered under this paragraph shall be credited against the liability for the amount due under said subparagraph (1) of said paragraph (a) for the collection of which such levy was made. In addition, if any person required to surrender property or rights to property fails or refuses to surrender such property or rights to property, without reasonable cause, such person shall be liable for a civil penalty equal to twenty-five percent of the amount recoverable. No part of such civil penalty shall be credited against the liability for the amount due under said subparagraph (1) of said paragraph (a) for the collection of which such levy was made.

(5) Any person in possession of, or obligated with respect to, property or rights to property subject to levy upon which a levy has been made who, upon demand by the bureau of special investigations, surrenders such property or rights to property or discharges such obligation to the bureau of special investigations or who pays a liability under subparagraph (2), shall be discharged from any obligation or liability to the obligor with respect to such property or rights to property arising from such surrender or payment.

(c) In any case where there has been a refusal or neglect to pay any amount due under this section, or to discharge any liability in respect thereof, whether or not levy has been made, the attorney general on behalf of the bureau of special investigations, in addition to other modes of relief, may file a civil action in the superior court department of the trial court to enforce the lien under this section or to subject any property, of whatever nature, of the obligor or in which the obligor has any right, title or interest, to the payment of any amounts due under this section.

(d) At the time of any lien, or levy or seizure of any property or rights to property, real or personal, belonging to the obligor, the bureau of special investigations shall send a written notice to the obligor of the action taken which shall specify the amount due and the steps to be followed to release the property so levied, seized or placed under lien.

(e) A notice given pursuant to this section shall be sufficient if sent by first class mail to the obligor’s last known address as appearing in the records of the bureau of special investigations.