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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 13658
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I'm looking into the likelyhood of being prosecuted for

Customer Question

Hi, I'm looking into the likelyhood of being prosecuted for unemployment insurance fraud. I got a notice of potential unemployment, and looking back I took some horrible advice from HR while very distressed, in their effort to push me out. I was unemployed for 6 months, collecting nearly 12k. I plan on paying it back plus penalties, but I haven't been able to talk to a single person from the overpayment department. I don't care about avoiding the fine, Ijsut don't wantot get charged with anything or go to jail
JA: Because consumer protection law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: California
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no one that is knows anything about this aspect of the law
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: I'm a greencard holder
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to helping you.

Understand that no one can tell you for certain or not whether the Employment Development Department (EDD), which administers the unemployment program, will prosecute you, or if they did, if you would go to jail. Once fraud is suspected, EDD's fraud investigation unit takes over and looks into the allegations. If they uncover enough evidence to convince the local prosecuting agency to file criminal charges, they submit their report to that agency. If they believe that the claim will get rejected, they simply retain their file in case they are able to obtain additional evidence against the suspect individual. That said, is it likely? No, especially if this is a first offense. Rather, they would look to recover the overpayment from you and collect a penalty.

Unemployment fraud occurs when you knowingly give false information or withhold information and receive benefits that you should not have received. With a fraud overpayment, you are assessed a penalty in the amount of 30 percent of the amount of the overpayment and a false statement disqualification of 5 to 23 weeks. Fraud over-payments and penalties must be repaid.

There are potential defenses - if for example, you believed you had submitted a legitimate claim, accidentally reported the wrong information (such as underreported income) or didn't realize you had to submit certain income, then it can be argued that you didn't "knowingly" commit a crime.

My suggestion -especially since you are a greencard holder, and a conviction could have serious ramifications, is that you speak with a criminal defense lawyer. They may be able to contact the EDD on your behalf and work out a repayment.
Additionally, they can be helpful in determining whether you were actually ineligible (e.g., if you voluntarily quit employment, you normally would not be eligible for unemployment benefits) and whether you have any defenses.

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