Unemployment fraud is a serious issue and both state and federal authorities aggressive investigate potential cases of fraud. According to a 2013 report published in USA Today, a study conducted by the St. Louis Federal Reserve concluded that approximately $3.3 billion were paid out in fraudulent unemployment benefits.
Generally speaking, people may only collect benefits if they lose their jobs through no fault of their own or quit for “good cause.” Good cause could include issues like workplace discrimination, dangerous working conditions, harassment, or certain personal issues. People who knowingly collect unemployment benefits when they should not be are in violation of the law and could be subjected to serious penalties, including fines, forfeiture of future income tax refunds, exclusion from the unemployment insurance program, and even criminal prosecution.
Here are some examples of conduct that may constitute unemployment fraud:
- Returning to work while still collecting benefits
- Getting a part time job but not reporting the income to your state unemployment agency
- Obtaining temporary work but not reporting your earnings when filing your weekly unemployment claim
- Providing false information or making material omission to the Department of Employment Security.
How a Lawyer can Help You Avoid Unemployment Fraud
The unemployment system can be difficult to navigate, particularly for people who have never collected unemployment benefits before. As a participant in the system, you are expected to understand and abide by the relevant law, however, and not knowing the law is no excuse for committing unemployment fraud. By retaining an attorney to help you with your claim and consulting with a lawyer should anything change, you can ensure that you avoid inadvertently committing unemployment fraud. Additionally, if you have already been accused of fraud, the assistance of an attorney is important to mitigate any consequences you may be facing.
Call an Unemployment Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you have been accused of unemployment fraud or have questions about how to avoid it, you should speak to an attorney immediately. Attorney Kenneth Carp provides unemployment representation to employees and employers throughout the United States are is committed to aggressively pursuing the outcome his clients seek. To schedule a consultation with Mr. Carp, call our office today at 636-947-3600 or contact us online.