Vista criminal attorney is an exceptional criminal defense law firm that has built a reputation of successfully navigating the criminal court system in the state of California. Our attorneys are extremely conversant in all California laws and capable of handling any fraud charges competently. If you find yourself facing harsh penalties or any other fraud-related crime, our attorneys will work tirelessly to aid you in the fight to defend you during court proceedings.
What Constitutes Fraud According to The Law?
In the judicial world, fraud might be interpreted as any dishonest portrayal of reality through dialog, deeds and through deceitful information. When you hide the truth and fail to provide facts pertaining to a given matter or situation, you could also be labeled a con or behaving in a fraudulent manner. The same case applies to anyone seeking to acquire another person’s stuff out of an unjust act. Unlike most of the other criminal activities, fraud involves no violence.
What is Unemployment Insurance?
Usually denoted as UI in California, unemployment insurance is an insurance program that seeks to help individuals who lose their positions of employment stay out of their monetary struggle for a period of up to one (1) year as they diligently proceed with hunting for a new job. This program, however, is only applicable to those individuals that had nothing to do with the loss of their jobs.
The unemployment insurance is a national-state program that is funded by employer tax donations. In the state of California, this program is managed by the Employment Development Department (EDD). Recipients of this program collect wages spanning forty ($40) dollars up to four hundred and fifty ($450) dollars on a weekly basis.
For an individual to qualify for unemployment claims in California, they should:
- Have no livelihood, or have had their working hours unwillingly reduced from full time.
- Be diligent in their job hunt.
- Have been at work in the preceding eighteen (18) months.
- Be in proper physical shape to go to work.
What is Considered Unemployment Insurance Fraud in The State of California?
In the state of California, unemployment insurance fraud normally falls under white collar offenses. This implies that the offense is committed largely for financial benefit and no brutality is involved in the committing of the crime.
Under the California Civil Code, unemployment fraud occurs when a person provides a deliberate false description, insincere documentation or a thought-out scheme, all with the intent to raise, lessen, gain or derail any payment that is contained within a state program.
There are several ways in which, as an employee you would find yourself in defiance of unemployment insurance fraud law as per the statute in California. Some of the most common ways include, but are not limited to:
- Obtaining other types of reimbursement and failing to disclose it to the Employment Development Department (EDD). These consist; retirement funds, divorce settlements among others.
- Residing in California yet you receive unemployment benefits from a different state.
- Working and at the same time obtaining unemployment benefits which you fail to reveal to the Employment Development Department (EDD).
- Using fraudulent documentation i.e. an incorrect name, post information or social insurance number while nevertheless working and collecting unemployment compensations. Reliant on various conditions, you could as well be charged with a sort of identity theft in California.
- Fabricating a false boss then proceeding to register your name as a member of staff who is entitled to unemployment insurance payments.
- Liquidating another person’s unemployment invoice without their knowledge or proper consent.
- Falsifying your job-hunting endeavors. Asserting that you are actively seeking employment when in reality you are doing the opposite.
- Misreporting the whys and wherefores you are out of employment. You might have been sacked from your previous job due to inappropriate conduct at the workplace yet lie about being discharged due to rollbacks.
In California, the unemployment insurance scam does not apply to the workers alone, but the employers as well. A given proprietor might find themselves facing the said charges if they:
- Deliberately keep the amount deducted from their workers' wages and fail on purpose to pay it to the Employment Development Division (EDD).
- Purposely provide false intelligence regarding why a worker was dismissed from their occupation or about their earnings in order not to avoid paying the unemployment insurance program.
Punitive Measures for Unemployment Fraud in California
In accordance with the California statutes, the crime of fraud is categorized as a wobbler crime. This means that it could be categorized either as a felony or a misdemeanor based on the circumstances of the event as well as the offender's criminal background. Some of the punitive actions instigated in relation to unemployment fraud include Civil Code 550 general fraud and unemployment code 2101.
In the event that you are convicted of violating the unemployment insurance code 2101 being a misdemeanor, you will be facing legal fees of up to twenty thousand ($20,000) dollars, a maximum of twelve (12) months in the district jail, or both. If on the other hand you are condemned for the crime being a felony, you will be looking at a term of sixteen (16) months, two (2) to three (3) years in the California national penitentiary, a maximum of twenty thousand ($20,000) dollars in legal fees, or both.
Supposing a prosecutor condemns you for defying Civil Code 550 general fraud as a misdemeanor, the total sum of the scam will determine the trial’s verdict. For the said lawsuit to be categorized as being a misdemeanor, the total amount of the supposed scam should be nine hundred and fifty ($950) dollars or a smaller amount. For this offense, you face up to one thousand ($1,000) dollars in legal fees, a maximum term of six (6) months in county jail, or both.
As long as the sum of the scam surpasses nine hundred and fifty ($950) dollars, the crime is now dealt with like a wobbler. This means that there is a likelihood of the crime still being charged as a misdemeanor, in which case you could be subject to legal fees of up to ten thousand ($10,000), up to one (1) year in the county penitentiary, or both.
For the offense of unemployment insurance fraud to be charged like a felony, the total sum of the supposed scam should be more than nine hundred and fifty ($950) dollars, or the said amount in a period of one (1) year continuously. If found guilty, it means that you get slapped with a jail sentence of two (2), three (3), or five (5) years and whichever amount is greater between legal fees not exceeding fifty thousand ($50,000) dollars and double the total amount of the fraud.
Additionally, if you are found guilty of unemployment insurance fraud, you are required to undergo professional reprimand. You also get disqualified from receiving or even keeping any awarded settlements and are obligated to pay back any settlements received with a fine of thirty (30%) percent of the total amount received.
A well-informed California felon defense advocate could come to an agreement with the California Pay Development Division (EDD) whereby you would be required to pay compensation. By doing this, a prosecutor ensures that the department does not press legal charges against you. If the EDD approves of this move, you will need to make the deposits in the stipulated time in order to avoid a legal battle.
Legitimate Defenses for Unemployment Insurance Fraud
It might be quite a distressing experience if you are engaged in a legal battle pertaining to unemployment insurance fraud. Luckily, there are several lawful defenses that a practiced California felonious defense attorney might put in play when arguing on your account. Most of the frequently used consist of:
- You did not have deceitful goals. If you are to be sentenced for breaking any California fraud law, the prosecutor must provide tangible evidence that your ultimate aim was deceit from the beginning. Failure to do so could see you walk out of the hearing a free individual with a not guilty charge. On the assumption that you unintentionally gave incorrect details in regards to your job or trust that you put forward a valid claim, you as well did not act with malicious goals. This could see you leave the courtroom an innocent individual.
- Inadequate proof. The past decade has seen a rapid growth of unemployment insurance fraud and related offenses in California. This has seen the legal administration impose severe rules and penalties with an aim of curbing the said offenses. By doing so, detectives have made haste to seize supposed offenders and jump to conclusion when filing cases. This has become sort of the norm where most of the fraud cases lodged in a courtroom lack evidence.
- Dishonest claims. It is not unheard of when the challenging party tries to pin wrongdoing on a said defendant. One of the best ways to argue in such a situation is by substantiating your innocence. There are very many reasons as to why another person would want to accuse you of such a crime, ranging from vengeance to a case of misguided identity.
- Appeal negotiation. This defense is usually set in motion in cases where the proof presented against you in a court of law is irrefutable. A good California felon defense advocate will attempt to discuss terms of a plea bargain in your place when you cannot escape accountability of wrongdoing during a hearing. By initiating a plea bargain, you can plead guilty or no contest. This works in your favor as it could lead to a heftier fraud charge being dismissed and receiving a lesser charge instead.
Offenses Related to Unemployment Insurance Fraud
Civil Code 470, imitation law. In the California statute, this civil code forbids intentionally fashioning, changing, or using inscribed text with the goal to engage in a scam. If you put in an application for unemployment settlement using either of the stated ways above, you could face forgery allegations as well.
Since forgery is a wobbler offense, if found guilty, you could face a fine not exceeding ten thousand ($10,000) dollars and an utmost jail term of three (3) years.
Civil Code 118, falsehood law. You could be found in violation of this act when you knowingly provide incorrect intelligence while under a pledge to disclose the truth. You could be charged with perjury as well as a forgery if you purposefully fabricate any details when signing up for unemployment payment.
Under California statutes, Civil Charter 118 PC perjury act is considered a felony. If convicted of this offense, you could pay up to ten thousand ($10,000) bucks in legal fines, a jail sentence not exceeding four (4) years in the county penitentiary or both.
Penal Code 182, collusion law. In accordance to the California statute, if you made a deal with a second individual to engage in an illegal act that involved either refusing authentic or acquiring deceitful unemployment insurance payments, you are in direct violation of Civil Charter 182 PC conspiracy law. This specific decree makes it illegal to collude to perpetrate an offense.
Conspiracy law is considered a felony in California. In case you are found guilty of this crime, you would be facing a jail term of two (2), three (3), or five (5) years and whichever amount is greater between legal fees not exceeding fifty thousand ($50,000) dollars and twice the total sum of the fraud.
Civil Code 472, the law against faking, fabricating or possessing a fake public emblem. In California, you are prohibited from producing or even owning your very own public seal. In the case that you falsify a public insignia on your fabricated unemployment insurance submission, you could face two charges of fraud.
Breaking this law is treated like a wobbler, with different factors being taken into consideration. In the case of a conviction, you could be fined a maximum of up to one thousand ($1,000) dollars, a sentence not exceeding three (3) years in the district penitentiary, or both.
Civil Code 487, grand robbery law. This act makes it illegal to dishonestly take another individual’s or institution’s belongings priced beyond nine hundred and fifty ($950) dollars. Belongings, as used in this context, might refer to cash, manpower, private possessions or real estate.
Supposing that you collected unemployment payments amounting to or exceeding nine hundred and fifty ($950) dollars, you could be indicted for a wobbler. This would see you pay a legal fee of up to one thousand ($1,000) dollars, a maximum jail sentence of three (3) years in the county penitentiary, or both.
Common Questions Regarding Unemployment Insurance Fraud in California
What Would Prohibit Me from Receiving Unemployment Insurance?
There are many factors that are put into consideration for you to qualify as a beneficiary of the unemployment insurance in California. Not every single person who is out of work is entitled to unemployment benefits especially if they do not comply with their state’s merit obligation.
The first aspect that is used to determine whether you qualify for unemployment benefits is if you are an employee. If you are an independent contractor or a freelancer, you are automatically disqualified from receiving any unemployment payments since the state considers you self-employed.
Secondly, the way you lost your job might invalidate your eligibility for receiving unemployment insurance payments. In California, unemployment settlements could be denied if you resigned without a good cause, were sacked from, or are no longer fit, free, and diligently hunting for a job.
Thirdly, you might be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if there is no evidence or effort of you seeking a new job. The unemployment department provides claim forms that the program's beneficiaries are supposed to fill detailing their job hunting. If you fail to do as required or even turn down suitable job offers, your unemployment payments could come to a halt.
Can I Reapply for Unemployment Insurance When It Expires?
So long as you are still eligible for unemployment payments, you can instantly reapply for your payments to be stretched out even after your preliminary benefits span has ended. In the state of California, the act of reapplying is known as reopening one's benefits and has no waiting time to it.
Do I have to pay back the unemployment settlements?
Unless stated otherwise by the Employment Development Department (EDD), you are not required to pay back any amount that you received while jobless. The only time that you would be required to pay back the benefits provided is if you used fraudulent ways to acquire the payments or you were paid erroneously.
Find a Vista Criminal Attorney Focusing on Unemployment Insurance Fraud Near Me
In the state of California, unemployment insurance fraud seems to be on the rise. This has led to the enactment of tougher penalties on crimes involving fraud in general. If you find yourself facing arraignment for unemployment insurance fraud, you are going to require the assistance of a skilled attorney in order to fight the case. Contact our Vista Criminal Defense Attorney today at 760-691-1551 to schedule your appointment with us, or for more information regarding fraud crimes.