Salt Lake City Unemployment Fraud Defense Lawyer
Every year, thousands of Utahns rely on unemployment insurance when they are unexpectedly laid off or come upon hard times. This program serves as important lifeline to those who are struggling in our state. However, there are always some people who try to take advantage of this system by making claims for unemployment insurance payouts for which they do not actually qualify. This is a serious crime that can result in severe penalties like long jail sentences and high fines if you are caught.
At Overson Law, PLLC, our Salt Lake City unemployment fraud defense lawyer have years of experience successfully defending clients against charges that they have defrauded the unemployment insurance program. We understand that this charge can come with serious penalties, including long jail sentences and high fines, and can prevent you from claiming these vital benefits if you face future hardships. Our attorneys will work to have your side of the story told and bring your case to the most positive resolution possible. Call us today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.
Definition of the Crime of Unemployment Fraud in Salt Lake City
Under the Utah criminal code, “a person who makes a false statement or representation knowing it to be false, or knowingly fails to disclose a material fact, to obtain or increase a benefit or other payment under the unemployment compensation program of any state or of the federal government for any person is guilty of unemployment insurance fraud.” Examples of unemployment fraud include failing to report your earnings accurately, forging your weekly job search report, and making false claims regarding your unavailability to work. You can also get in trouble for allowing others to file in your name or filing in the name of someone else.
In addition, employers can be charged under this section of the code if they make a false statement or representation knowing it to be false or knowingly fail to disclose a material fact to prevent or reduce the payment of unemployment compensation benefits to an individual entitled to those benefits. There is also a provision in this section making it illegal for an employee of the Department of Workforce Services to make a willful disclosure of someone’s personal information. Finally, department employees can also be charged for obtaining a list of unemployment recipients and using it or allowing it to be used for a political purpose.
Penalties for Unemployment Fraud in Salt Lake City
The penalties for an unemployment fraud conviction will vary depending on what type of fraud you committed and how much money you intended to steal. For those beneficiaries who present false or misleading information to get their benefits, there is a tiered system of potential punishments dependent on the amount of money involved in the fraud. For cases where the amount obtained or sought to be obtained was less than $500, the charge is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 month in jail and fines up to $100.
If the amount obtained or sought to be obtained through the fraud is $500 or greater but less than $1,500, the crime will be charged as a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. For amounts of $1,500 or more but less than $5,000, the charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Finally, amounts of $5,000 or greater obtained or sought will be charged as a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. This tiered system also applies to those employers who attempt to prevent qualified employees from receiving benefits.
There are other consequences that may come with being convicted of or pleading guilty to this crime outside of jail time and fines. Because it is a crime of fraud, it could cause you to lose any professional licenses that you have and make it difficult for you to find a future job with a fraud conviction on your record. It could also make you ineligible for unemployment insurance or other government benefits in the future.
How an Unemployment Fraud Case Plays Out in Salt Lake City
Unless the police choose to release you on a summons with a court date, which is unlikely given this particular crime, you will be arrested and taken to the local police station for the booking process. After your are booked, you will likely be held in the station’s holding cell or at the local detention center until your arraignment and bail hearing. At the arraignment, the charges are read against you and you are asked to plead guilty or not guilty. An experienced criminal defense lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC will likely advise you to plead not guilty at this point while we collect evidence and assess the strength of the case.
Your bail hearing will typically occur at or around the same time as your arraignment. The judge can decide whether to hold you in jail until the underlying matter is resolved, release you on no bail, or set bail, the most likely option. Our bail hearing attorneys will work to get you before a judge as quickly as possible and to get you released on reasonable or no bail.
After this, our lawyers can attempt to work out a deal with the prosecutors if you wish. If you have no prior criminal record, you may be eligible to enter into a pre-trial diversion program, where your charges will be dropped if you complete it successfully. We can also try to work out a deal where your charges are downgraded or you plead guilty in exchange for a lenient sentencing recommendation. If a deal does not appeal to you, we are ready to fight for you innocence at trial.
Call Our Salt Lake City Unemployment Fraud Defense Lawyers Today
Unemployment fraud is a serious crimes that can have lasting implications on your life beyond even just the potential criminal penalties like jail times and fines. You could find yourself in a situation where you cannot get a job with a fraud conviction on your record and you are also banned from receiving government benefits needed to support you and your family. At Overson Law, PLLC, our compassionate Salt Lake City unemployment fraud defense lawyers will fight to get this charge downgraded or dismissed so that you can move on with your life. Call our firm today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.