Unemployment Insurance Fraud Related to Covid-19 Benefits
Unemployment insurance fraud (EDD fraud) in California is described as an applicant supplying false information to obtain unemployment benefits for which they are not legally entitled.
California Unemployment Insurance Code 2101 defines insurance fraud as:
- “a willful false representation, knowing concealment, or false identification to obtain, increase, reduce, or defeat any benefit under the state or federal programs.”
In California, there is a massive increase in criminal investigations of unemployment insurance fraud due to the significant increase in applicants caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn.
Federal Fraud Charges Related to Covid-19 Pandemic
There have been a lot of arrests recently mainly at the federal level for those individuals who received benefits related to the Covid-19 pandemic from the government who should not have received those benefits. The issue becomes:
- is it a situation where the government is claiming that you completely defrauded them and you have no right to receive the benefits; or,
- is it a situation where a mistake was made and you did have a right to receive the benefits; or
- you didn’t realize you didn’t have the right to receive the benefits.
That’s really going to be the turning point as far as a defense goes in a criminal federal prosecution for receiving benefits from the government related to the PPE program or any of the other programs that are out there.
If someone is eligible and they just make some sort of a mistake, that is something that can probably be defended because in all criminal cases, you’re going to need to have some sort of intent to defraud the government.
If you made a mistake, if you are entitled to them but you just didn’t do it the right way, that puts you in much stronger position to explain things, defend the case and work things out.
Common Factors in Unemployment Fraud Type Activity
If on the other hand, you’re doing something in a fraudulent manner, then the government is going to come after you if they can figure out who you are and what you’ve done.
I can certainly see a lot of people are taking advantage of the government doling out money by pretending to be people that they’re not.
They are also doing other various other schemes or scams related to the PPE money and any type of unemployment type activity. That’s another issue:
- People are claiming they are unemployed when they’re not;
- They’re working;
- They’re making money, but at the same time, they’re collecting money from the government.
Obviously, this is a crime.
In order to receive the money in the first place from the government, you have to fill out paperwork where it’s pretty clear that you can’t receive other funds, and if you do, you can only receive a certain amount, and obviously, you have to report that to the government.
Criminal Defense for Covid-19 Unemployment Insurance Fraud
So, if you or a loved one is being charged at a federal criminal level for any type of unemployment fraud related to Covid-19 benefits, money taken from the PPE program, pick up the phone.
Make the call. Ask to speak to Ronald Hedding. I’ve been doing this now for 26 years; handled hundreds of cases at the federal level and be assured that federal and state crimes are different.
So, when you’re looking for a federal attorney because you’re being investigated by a branch of the federal government — the FBI, the DEA, ICE — any of the branches of the government, you’re going to need an attorney who knows how to deal with those branches of the government.
So, pick up the phone. Ask to speak to Ron Hedding. One of the first things we’re going to do is sit down in my office and go over everything in the privacy of my office where everything is protected by the attorney/client privilege. Obviously, you’re going to tell me:
- what you’re being investigated for,
- what you did,
- what you didn’t do,
- you’re going to be honest with me so we can really get a good game plan together to protect you.
Negotiation with Federal Prosecutor
It’s either going to be a situation where I’m explaining things to the government’s prosecutor and trying to convince them that you shouldn’t be prosecuted for a federal criminal crime.
Or if they have the evidence against you, I’m going to need to explain why you did what you did, what was going on, what was in your mind and see what we can do to make some moves to do damage control.
In other words, try to keep you out of federal prison — try to salvage your life, your career and all the things that you hold important to you.
Pick up the phone. Make the call. Ask to speak to Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436.
Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 374-3952.
Call For A Free Strategy Session