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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27118
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I have been notified that I have unemployment overpayment.

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I have been notified that I have unemployment overpayment. of $9,000 plus $2,500 more in penalties. I appealed and got no where with it. i have weeks where I claimed I earned less then I did but not by much most cases less then $50 with a couple weeks being way off. some cases I claimed I earned more then I really did. Truth is I didnt pay close attention to what i was doing. What does Idaho look at when they decide to pursue felony charges? I was told by a friend they are putting people in jail if they suspect I was doing it for gain.
Hello Jacustomer,

What happens is that when unemployment feels there is an overpayment and believes from the evidence that there was likely fraud involved, they turn their paperwork over to the Prosecutor so that charges can be pressed.

This kind of a crime is a felony, but it is a non-violent one. I have handled several cases like this over the course of my career, and, the defendant having already cost the government a good deal of money, the last thing the government really wants is to pay for his room and board for the next couple of years. So, although this crime does have a possible jail penalty, the plea offer will in all likelihood be felony probation with restitution to Unemployment.

The only way jail is likely to be a possibility, so long as you make your court dates, is if you decide that you'd rather go to trial on this case and you lose. Then you could expect prison, but the restitution requirement will still be imposed. There's no getting around the fact that you will have to pay the government back.

If you receive something in the mail with a criminal court date, you will need a lawyer. If you can afford to hire one, have him with you in court from the beginning. If you cannot afford one, you must plead not guilty at your arraignment, where the charges are read into the record and you are ask how you plead. Not guilty is the only plea that will keep all of your rights open until you can consult with counsel. One you've plead not guilty you can tell the judge you are without the means to hire a private attorney and need him to appoint you a public defense lawyer.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
with that much overpayment do they usually claim fraud and take me to court? I can prove that the clock in and clock out machine gives my weekly hours was not always accurate and is the reason for most of the misreportings.
Hi Curtis,

Yes, with $9K they can have you prosecuted. That's enough money to be a felony theft-related offense.

Don't confuse what they need to prosecute you with what they need to convict you. To prosecute you they only need a reasonable belief that you may have committed unemployment fraud by undereporting your hours. That's probable cause and the very fact that there is an overpayment will give the state that much.

To convict you, the state would have to prove that you deliberately defrauded Unemployment, and they would have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. So if you have a defense, and you believe that the overpayment was caused by something outside of your control, like a defective punch clock, you will want to get what evidence you can and show it to your lawyer as soon as you have one. He or she will be able to give you an idea of how well your defense will fly, so that you would not lose the chance to cut your losses by taking a plea to probation but would be able to weigh the up and down sides of both trial and plea to make the decision that you believe is in your best interest.
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