Welfare fraud, also known as benefit fraud and EDD fraud, can occur when fraudsters deliberately exploit weaknesses in the benefits and unemployment insurance systems. If you are accused of either crime, you need an EDD attorney for fraud in Los Angeles.
Recipients and employers mislead or misrepresent information to obtain funds to which they aren’t entitled or deny benefits to those who are entitled to them.
What Constitutes Benefits Fraud?
There are two types of welfare fraud.
- Recipient fraud is the most common of the two.
- Internal fraud can be treated as either a felony crime or a misdemeanor.
Recipient Fraud is when people knowingly and intentionally lie or omit information to obtain welfare benefits, including food stamps and Medi-Cal, for which they don’t legally qualify. The crime is a misdemeanor and carries lighter penalties than internal fraud.
Internal fraud, on the other hand, occurs when government employees are complicit in the crime. Employees knowingly and intentionally register recipients who don’t qualify for welfare benefits. It’s a wobbler crime, which means prosecutors have the discretion to charge you with a misdemeanor or felony.
A felony charge carries higher penalties than recipient fraud. You don’t have to face the charges alone with a specialized LibertyBell welfare benefits fraud attorney in California.
Two Categories of Benefits Fraud
Recipient fraud is defined by 10980 WIC as fraudulent action purposely taken to deceive government employees to receive welfare benefits to which they are not entitled.
- The five most common types of recipient benefits fraud in California include the following:
- Claims of single-parenthood when the other parent lives in the family home.
- Neglects to report other income sources or benefits.
- Claims for children who don’t live in the family home.
- Claims for fictitious or ineligible children
- Collects benefits from another state in addition to benefits in California.
In internal fraud, a government employee attempts or succeeds in collecting or distributing unlawful benefits. It’s essentially an inside job that can’t occur without an individual who works for the government. The employee lies, falsifies, or misrepresents applications for ineligible people.
Typically, they do it only for friends and family, but it can include a racket, where the employee ‘sells’ falsified applications to those who can afford it. If you’re accused of internal fraud, you can also be charged with embezzlement or employee theft.
Over the last several years, prosecutors have come down especially hard on white-collar crime, seeking the maximum penalty.
You need an expert lawyer in welfare fraud in California on your side. LibertyBell Law Group’s defense attorneys are highly experienced and successful at defending white-collar crime in state and federal courts.
What You Need to Know About EDD Fraud
In California, EDD fraud, also known as unemployment insurance fraud, occurs when applicants lie or omit information on their applications for unemployment benefits. Employers can also commit this when they falsify information so that current or former employees don’t get the benefits due to them.
The California Unemployment Insurance Code 2101 defines EDD fraud as the willful false representation, knowing concealment, or false identification to obtain, increase, reduce, or defeat any benefit under the state or federal programs.
Investigating EDD Fraud
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) investigates unemployment insurance (UI) fraud allegations. There are two ways in which the EDD becomes aware of potential UI fraud.
- Tips via their hotline and report fraud on their website.
- EDD employees who red-flag suspicious applications.
The EDD’s fraud investigation unit is called in to dig deeper into cases of suspected fraud.
If the unit uncovers sufficient evidence for a prosecutor to believe they have a good case, they will file criminal charges, and you need to find an unstoppable EDD fraud attorney in California. If the prosecutor doesn’t think the evidence is strong enough for a trial, they keep the file open in case more evidence presents itself.
What Scenarios are Considered EDD Fraud?
There are at least eight ways in which employees can commit EDD fraud.
- Working and simultaneously collecting unemployment insurance.
- Collecting other workers’ compensation benefits without reporting to the EDD.
- Using false information, including name, social security number, and employment information, while working and receiving unemployment benefits.
- Living in California and obtaining benefits in another state.
- Creating a non-existent employer and adding yourself to the books as an employee so you can get UI.
- Cashing employment checks that don’t belong to you.
- Lying about job hunting. Claim to be actively looking for gainful employment when you are not.
- Lying about the reason for unemployment; for example, blaming cutbacks instead of poor performance or petty theft.
Employers can also commit EDD fraud using two primary methods:
- Lying about the reason an employee’s contract was terminated or about the correct wages to get away from contributing to UI.
- Intentionally withhold deductions from employees and purposely not pay them to the EDD.
Contact LibertyBell Law Group and get a criminal attorney for EDD fraud in Los Angeles.
Why Do You Need a Fraud Attorney in California?
The penalties for fraud can be stiff, depending on extenuating circumstances. You need an attorney who can leverage your circumstances to raise doubt as to your guilt or the extent of your guilt. The penalties for both types of fraud include the following:
When making false or misleading statements is a misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of a maximum of six months or a fine of up to $500. A fraudulent application is a wobbler offense, so the prosecutor has the option to charge you with a misdemeanor or felony.
You face one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. For a felony charge, you face up to three years in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Unemployed Insurance Fraud
The penalties include a fine of up to $50,00 or double the amount of fraud, whichever is greater, and imprisonment of two to five years, both the fine and prison.
Another possible penalty is the restitution of an amount determined by the court, which is to be repaid to the defrauded party. You risk facing additional charges, including theft, forgery and counterfeiting, perjury, and conspiracy.
This carries penalties that include a fine of up to $50,000 or double the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater. A prison term of two to five years or a fine and prison sentence. Restitution of an amount determined by the court to be paid to the defrauded party. You risk facing additional charges, including theft, forgery and counterfeiting, perjury, and conspiracy.
You must take these charges seriously and choose the best defense available from LibertyBell Law Group with its specialist EDD fraud attorneys in California.
Choose Your Best Defense Against Benefits and EDD Fraud at LibertyBell Law Group
The reason you need to choose a LibertyBell attorney is simple, we know how to find gaps in the prosecution’s arguments.
Our creative and knowledgeable lawyers can think and troubleshoot problems on their feet, deftly creating doubt through expert communication skills. Our only goal is to have the charges dropped or reduced to the absolute minimum.
To get the best EDD attorney for fraud in Los Angeles, contact us at 877-545-3559 at LibertyBell Law Group today!
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