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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27741
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I collected unemployment benefits when my daytime part time

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I collected unemployment benefits when my daytime part time job laid us off because they were closing. I did not report my night time jobs earnings. This was only for a few weeks. I just had a phone interview and they asked me about my current employer and I hung up because I was scared and did not want to admit anything. I have never been introuble before, I was just strapped for money at the time. What should be my next move? I know there are two types, fraud and non fraud, clearly I committed fraud and see no way around this... I am willing to pay the money back with the required interest. Will current and future employers find out about this?

Hello Jacustomer,

You are going to be required to repay unemployment the money it overpaid you, and you will be able to pay it off in affordable payments which can be worked out either with unemployment itself or with the criminal justice system as part of a plea negotiation. Which way this goes, as you may already know, is going to depend upon whether or not you committed an intentional fraud.

If you didn't, you could work out a plan with unemployment. But if they believe that you intentionally put in for benefits to which you were not entitled, the file will get turned over to the prosecutor who can charge you with benefits fraud.

In this latter case, you would still be required to reimburse the government for your overpayment, but you would be facing a felony charge. Generally, prison won't be in the cards and you would likely be able to dispose of the case with a plea to the charge and a sentence of probation. Restitution to Unemployment would be part of your sentence and probation would monitor your payments to make sure that you were meeting them.

The best thing you can do for yourself right now would be to speak to a lawyer. You should be entitled to a hearing, and most criminal lawyers have some sort of administrative law experience in this area. If you didn't know where to find one, you can call your Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service. You could explain your mistake at the hearing and set up repayment.

If you know you did deliberately take beneftis when you weren't entitled, then again you will certainly also need a lawyer. If you fail to go to the hearing at all or to cooperate with them, then Unemployment will confirm its own findings and turn that over to the prosecutor. Once that happens you can be charged and become a defendant on a criminal case. But a lawyer might be able to work somethign out for you with unemployment before the file is turned over to the prosecutor and without making any specific admissions which could hurt your case if you are, in fact, ever charged.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

In most cases, from what I have read, most do not get turned over to a prosecutor... you just have to repay them. Is this something that is likely?


Does this effect my current or future employment?

Hi Amanda,

In most cases it doesn't. But having hung up on them and being in a position where you don't want to make any admissions that could hurt you, you still need a lawyer. You want him to somehow be able to characterize this as a mistake which would not be intentional fraud.

If you are never charged with a crime, this matter will be a civil matter and would NOT be something that could affect your future employment. If you are arrested for this, on the other hand, you will be charged with a felony and though, as I have already said, you'd almost certainly get probation, in my experience these cases do not get reduced and the arrest and dispositon will appear on your criminal record, until the time that you could apply to get it expunged.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Do you think I should just call them and tell them to send me a notice of overpayment and be done with it? Or wait for them to do that... or what?

Hi Amanda,

I'd have a lawyer make the call for you. But if you decide to do it yourself, just ask for the overpayment notice and do not discuss what you did or didn't do with whoever you speak to.