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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12792
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I may have filed for Unemployment benefits for about four and

Customer Question

I may have filed for Unemployment benefits for about four and a half weeks, I was desperate and just found a job but had to wait a month before getting paid. My car was about to get taken away and I do have a family and a special needs daughter, I had been out of work almost 10 months. I have a clean background and just did something stupid but i had no choice. Things were getting pretty bad and I've been stressing about this and just want to get it taken care iof and pay it back asap. What can I do? Thanks [email protected]
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

First, you should know that the EDD classifies overpayments of UE benefits as either fraudulent or non-fraudulent.

A fraudulent overpayment occurs when a claimant knowingly gives false information or withholds information and receive benefits that they should not have received. Withholding or giving false information to obtain unemployment insurance benefits is a potentially criminal offense. Specifically, California Unemployment Insurance Code 2101 states:

"It is a violation of this chapter to willfully make a false statement or representation, to knowingly fail to disclose a material fact, or to use a false name, false social security number, or other false identification to obtain, increase, reduce, or defeat any benefit or payment..."

With a fraudulent overpayment, the claimant is assessed a penalty in the amount of 30% of the amount of the overpayment and a false statement disqualification of 5 to 23 weeks. Fraud overpayments and penalties must be repaid.

In a circumstance such as yours, it would be very hard to argue that the overpayment of benefits was not the result of an intentional and knowing false representation, since you were working and clearly knew that you should have reported your income. Thus, it would likely be regarded as fraud.

Typically, the very best thing to do is come clean, admit to the wrongdoing, and take responsibility. You will have to pay the money back, likely along with the 30% penalty, but criminal charges may not be filed if you are up front, generally speaking.

At the EDD's discretion, they will refer the matter to the District Attorney, who will ultimately decide whether this matter is one worth prosecuting. Even if they did decide to prosecute, there are "first time offender" plea deals that will allow an individual in your circumstance to avoid jail time and, potentially, any criminal record whatsoever.

I realize that this is not all great news, but nonetheless, I hope that you appreciate receiving accurate information regarding your situation. I certainly understand where you are coming from and am sympathetic to your circumstance.

My absolute greatest concern is that you are satisfied with the answer I provide, so please do not hesitate to contact me with follow-up questions. Also, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
How will this effect my job and ca. insurance license and how do i come clean? who do i contact? Thanks
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.

Typically the best way to report an overpayment in this circumstance is to admit to the overpayment in response to the audit. An individual in your circumstance can include a letter to the EDD along with your audit response explaining that an overpayment has occurred and the reasons why your income was misrepresented.

Alternatively, an individual in your circumstance can also call the fraud/overpayment hotline here: 1-800-229-6297

I cannot predict how this will affect your job, as an employer has the discretion to maintain or terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reason. Certain licenses have affirmative reporting requirements for any sort of administrative disciplinary action or criminal conviction. An individual in your circumstance may be required to report this matter to your state licensing board, depending upon the particular reporting requirements of the board.

Again, my number one goal is that you are satisfied with my answer. If you still require further clarification, I am happy to continue assisting you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I still cant beleive I had to do this and now I'm filled with soo much regret I just want to fix this and move on with my life. I will pay whatever I need but just do not want to be taken into custody or do time or anything like that. I will take your advice and will call this 800 number and come clean and hope my good record and proactive approach helps me to avoid some of this. My job is all we have and it's a great opportunity for me and my family to get out of this mess and start rebuilding or credit, etc... Anything else you can tell me that may help me with this mess. Appreciate your help....Thanks

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Again, I am very sorry that you are in this situation and completely sympathize with your position.

I already said it above, but I will emphasize again that although repayment plus penalty is a certainty under these circumstances, criminal charges are far from guaranteed. The EDD would have to refer this matter to the District Attorney and the District Attorney would have to choose to prosecute the charges.

Furthermore, even if an individual in your circumstances was charged, your record and extenuating circumstances would be taken into account before imposing any sort of criminal sentence. Given that you have not been in trouble before and have a very sympathetic story, a minimal criminal penalty would likely be imposed. Though I can never predict what will happen, I can tell you that actual jail time is extraordinarily unlikely.

I hope that this puts your mind somewhat at ease. It sounds like you know what you need to do. I wish you and your family the very best.

Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for you help and understanding and appreciate your help, I do feel much better about this and may be even ale to get a little peace of mind. It was effecting my work, kind of hard to concentrate. Thanks again and I'm a very satisfied client. Smile
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I'm sorry just one more question, does my boss have to know about this? Thanks

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hello again--no problem whatsoever about the additional question. No, an employee does not have a legal obligation to inform their employer that they are being penalized by the EDD and/or being criminally charged with fraud (again, the criminal charges are unlikely) absent a contractual agreement requiring such disclosure in their employment contract.

I hope this helps.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Yes it does help, I need all the peace of mind I can get. If I need advice again can I request you? Thanks again!



Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
I am very glad I could be of assistance.

You absolutely can request me. If it is a new question, simply direct it to me by beginning the subject line with "To LegalPro54:"

Best regards.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
No problem. Have an enjoyable rest of the day and we will talk in the future if the need arises.

Thank you for choosing Just Answer.