The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented spike in unemployment filings. We know that paying your bills and providing for your loved ones is top of mind if you’re out of work. But you also want to ensure when you are claiming unemployment benefits you avoid fraud allegations.
Criminal defense attorney offers some insight into how to protect yourself from possible fraud charges if you’re filing for unemployment.
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Claiming Unemployment Benefits
The concern is potential exposure to criminal liability. Over the years I have defended several cases of unemployment fraud and what the issue is, is people claiming benefits that they are not entitled to.
What Constitutes a Fraudulent Claim?
What does that look like? If somebody has gone back to work, and they continue to claim their unemployment benefits or if somebody is unemployed and is claiming unemployment benefits but has part time work that they are not reporting.
When the dust settles what’s going on here, whenever it is, government agencies are going to be looking to recoup revenue. That’s my guess.
I am anticipating that government branches, like the division of labor and employment will begin to audit, to see if they have revenue out there that they can recoup. What they would do to recoup that, is refer for criminal prosecution, a case.
If they find that there’s been fraudulent claims, and then criminal charges are filed, and those charges can include a felony charge involving fraud done by computer or phone since the automated system is typically utilized when claiming, when making the claim and claiming benefits.
Report, Report, Report
So in order to avoid potential criminal liability if you go back to work, or if you are being asked to go back to work, you have to make that decision.
Are you going to go work? Are you going to claim unemployment?
If you are working part time, make sure that you are accounting for that when you make your claims because there will be an audit, and I would hate for someone to end up dealing with felony charges based on having to be on unemployment for this period of time.
Need Help with a Criminal Charge?
If you’re in need of defense in your criminal case, give us a call at 303-688-0944 to set up your case assessment. You can also schedule online.