Unemployment insurance fraud or EDD fraud has to do with individuals who are working at a job and end up quitting the job or becoming unemployed and then they collect benefits through the government. If they get another job while they're collecting benefits through the government, then the EDD will get involved and file a criminal case against them because they have basically cheated the EDD and the people of whatever state they're working for – in this case, it would be California – and they will file a criminal case against them in an attempt to recoup the funds that they took and put a felony conviction on their record.
How The Prosecutor Proves Fraud
If you're being charged with unemployment fraud under California Unemployment Insurance Code Section 2101, you should seek the advice of an attorney who has familiarity with this area of the law, who has a successful track record and who can help protect your record and keep you out of custody.
There's an investigative process that the government goes through in order to prove that someone has committed unemployment fraud. They will grab all your records from your employer if you were employed at any time, and obviously, they can also do other investigation where they do surveillance on you and they try to verify whether your working, when you're claiming that you are unemployed.
Really what this crime is all about is somebody is double-dipping and they are taking money from the government and they're taking money from an employer or another source.
Some Defenses to Unemployment Insurance Fraud
Some of the defenses to unemployment insurance fraud are that if you could prove that you really weren't making any money and that you weren't violating any of the government's laws, then obviously, you would be able to make an argument that you're innocent and that you should not be prosecuted for this. So, really what the government is going to need to prove in order to get somebody for EDD fraud, is that they're collecting both money from the government and money from another source.
What you really need to look at, is that when you sign the documents to be able to collect unemployment money, there's a lot of rules on there that you agreed to. You can't have money in your bank account and you can't do a number of other things. So, if you're questionable about whether or not you've committed EDD fraud, you should look at the agreement that you signed and then compare it, obviously, to the money that you're making.
Next Steps If You Need Help
What I do in these circumstances is, I get you in the office. We go over everything. I just ask that you're honest and give me a straightforward account of what happened, and then I can assess whether or not you've committed insurance fraud and we can decide exactly how we're going to handle the problem.
I obviously give you all the information so that you can make an informed decision about how you want to handle the case, and obviously, you don't put a spin on things. You give me all the details and then I'll also speak to the prosecutor and the investigating agent to see what evidence they have. Once we have all the evidence flushed out, then we will sit down and decide what the best course of action is.
Some of the objectives that I always have in these cases are to try to set things up so that you can either get the case reduced down to a misdemeanor or even dismissed and obviously to keep you out of jail. One big thing that goes a long way in EDD or insurance fraud cases, is if you could pay back the money that you took.
Paying it all back upfront obviously gives your defense lawyer a very strong bargaining position, but even if you could pay a portion of it back and then make payments over the course of time, that's another way to get your matter reduced down to a misdemeanor or dismissed.