Unemployment fraud is a white-collar crime that can be carried out by both employees and employers. This type of fraud happens when you willingly and knowingly use deceit to collect unemployment benefits. The requirements for receiving this compensation varies from one state to another. In New York, one can receive benefits if they are unemployed, they have had their working hours reduced by half and if they are actively seeking employment. Aiding a misrepresentation for someone else to collect these benefits is also considered a serious crime.
Failure to disclose that you are working when receiving benefits is a serious crime. The problem is not that you are working but the omission of this in your report. If you get work while receiving the payout, you need to communicate this so that the Department of Labor can deduct the claim. Otherwise, this is treated as an over-payment.
Understanding Queens Unemployment Fraud Charges
The State of New York under the New York Department of Labor thoroughly investigates these cases. There is so much pressure to bring these offenders to book. As such, the prosecutions are aggressive. In most cases, you will receive a call from the department if you are under investigation. The call often appears innocent. The state officer will make inquiries about your employment history and the benefits you have received so far. From here, a casual and innocent call can turn into an investigation and a fraud charge.
Other activities constitute unemployment fraud. The most common ones include: collecting benefits under a false name, falsifying your reasons for unemployment, failing to actively seek work opportunities, receiving benefits meant for someone else without their knowledge, actively working while receiving benefits and failure to report all forms of income. If you are charged with any of the above, you stand to face steep fines and possible jail time. The penalties differ based on the money that is fraudulently received.
First Degree Insurance Fraud
The charge is treated as a Class B felony. First-degree fraud applies to people who have deceitfully obtained over $1,000,000 in terms of insurance benefits. This felony carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. The fine amount can be double the amount received in the benefits collected.
Second Degree Insurance Fraud
Second-degree fraud is a Class C felony charge. This is when a person fraudulently receives benefits of an amount of more than $50,000. The penalty for this is a maximum of 15 years in prison and fines of twice the amount received.
Third Degree Insurance Fraud
Third-degree insurance fraud is a Class D felony. A person is charged under this class when they illicitly obtain insurance benefits of more than $3,000. A conviction can attract a prison sentence of 7 years and a fine amount of up to $5,000.
Fourth Degree Insurance Fraud
Fourth-degree fraud is classified as a Class E felony. This happens when a person deceitfully collects insurance benefits of amounts higher than $1,000. The charge can attract a fine of up to twice the amount fraudulently collected.
Fifth Degree Insurance Fraud
Fifth-degree insurance fraud is applied when a person obtains the insurance benefits of less than $1,000. This is a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction can attract a fine of $1,000 or up to one year in jail.
Aggravated Insurance Fraud
Aggravated fraud applies to repeat offenders. This is a Class D felony and attracts hefty fines and long prison sentences depending on the amounts in question.
Consult with a Queens Unemployment Fraud Lawyer
You need to protect yourself if you are investigated, charged or given notice of over-payment. The best way to do this is to consult with a lawyer immediately. The lawyer will come up with a defense strategy. This begins by assessing the merits of the case and evidence presented against you.
Unemployment fraud is a complex discipline of law. It is ill-advised to attempt to defend yourself. You need an experienced lawyer who understands the system. This gives them a unique advantage in your case. For starters, they understand how the law works and the possible defenses applicable in your case. These lawyers also have extensive court experience and can battle the case against an aggressive prosecutor.
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