In any fraud case, the most challenging element that a prosecutor has to prove is intent. The government must prove an action by the defendant intended to defraud the government. They also have to prove that false information was submitted to the government to qualify for benefits that the applicant was not qualified for. For example, the defendant was not terminated from employment, that the defendant was not able or looking for work, or that the defendant was actually working but not reporting it. Those are the things that they would have to prove in a charge for unemployment insurance fraud.
What Evidence Could Help My Defense In An Unemployment Insurance Fraud Case?
The most important element we always look for is intent, whether the information submitted fraudulently was intentionally submitted, and whether it made a material difference in receiving benefits. So, for example, if let’s say you’ve found a new job, but you don’t start for a month. You don’t report that until you start, and you continue to draw unemployment benefits. That may be a defense because we can argue that yes, they may have incorrectly reported that they had found a job, but that job didn’t start for a month, so they would have still been entitled to receive payments.
Unintentionally submitting information can also tie in with identity theft as a defense. Often, people will steal an identity and then collect unemployment benefits under that false identity. So, it’s somewhat common that someone will be contacted about their unemployment benefits. They say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve been working the entire time, I haven’t collected anything,” and it’s as a result of a stolen identity.
What Are Potential Penalties If Someone Is Convicted Of Unemployment Insurance Fraud Both At The State Or A Federal Level?
This depends on each state where you potentially are charged. In most instances, in Florida, unemployment fraud is considered a third-degree felony, which has a maximum penalty of up to five years. There is no specific charge just for unemployment insurance fraud under the federal system, it just falls under a more general fraud charge, and the maximum penalty is 15 years. However, again, most cases, except for the most serious, will likely be state cases.
Do I Need An Attorney If I’m Charged With Unemployment Insurance Fraud?
Anytime you are charged with any criminal violation that you’re facing the potential of jail or prison time, it’s always advisable to retain an attorney to represent you. The government will have an attorney representing them and their case against you, so you should have an attorney representing you and your interests.
For more information on Unemployment Insurance Fraud In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (305) 791-6529 today.