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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    8

    Default What to Do if You Didn't Report a New Job and Received an Unemployment Overpayment

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: New York

    I was laid off in May of 2017 and found a job in July 2017. At the time I was laid off I thought I was going to find a job right away and when I did not i filed for unemployment. I took some really bad advise from my neighbor and said that since I did not apply right away I could continue to collect for the time I waited which was about 2 or 3 months.

    My current job received a notice asking to supply some information regarding my employment. They had advised me, but I had already contact unemployment to try to set up a payment plan to correct the problem. I was not aware of any of the rules and in the bast I found a job within a week and never needed to apply for unemployment. When I spoke to unemployment they told me I needed to wait for aletter of determination before I could set up any payment plans. In the meantime I received a letter from Unemployment investigator to supply copies of certain documents. I am going to go to there off on the date we all scheduled and explain what took place.

    I am really scared as I have never delt with anything like this in my life. During the time this all took place my mother passed away, my step mother has been hospitalized for the last 8 months and I have a child with special needs, this is not at all an excuse but I am have been really overwhelmed.

    If I go in an explain what took place and that I want to pay the money back, will I be procecuted. I am soo scared and I am the primary caregive to my son. All I want to do is correct this horrible mistake.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,213

    Default Re: Stressed Out Over Unemployment Overpayment - Please Help

    It is quite unlikely that you will be prosecuted if you self-report and pay back the overpayment. They're far more concerned about getting their money back than they are in prosecuting you. The ones they prosecute are the ones that fight them at every turn, not the ones who acknowledge the mistake and make amends.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,142

    Default Re: Stressed Out Over Unemployment Overpayment - Please Help

    So you are saying that you...what? Continued to collect for two or three months AFTER you had gone back to work in May, right? You got started, you had an approved claim, and you told yourself that you could continue to file for weeks of benefits, even though to do so you had to lie and commit unemployment fraud because they clearly asked you if you were working and you answered no. So yes, you did, in fact commit unemployment fraud. It will get you nowhere to lie any more or refuse to answer their questions. They're just a formality anyway.

    And do not try to use all those excuses/reasons like how your mother died, somebody was in the hospital, and you have a special needs child. Does this keep you from realizing that you shouldn't shoplift? If so, then it shouldn't keep you from realizing that you shouldn't fraudulently file for unemployment weeks. The investigators do not want to hear this sort of thing, they do not care why you did it, and they have certainly heard it all before.

    That said, what they do want to do is get the money paid back. They do not want to prosecute you criminally unless you really become a problem to them and there is some reason they can really make a great example of you. And that you have been determined by the unemployment system to have committed unemployment fraud does not mean that you have been charged with a crime.

    It does not mean you need an attorney to defend you or that this will ever show up in a background check. Unemployment fraud is agency fraud. They get a whole lot of these in a week. If they criminally prosecuted every person who thought they would get away with unemployment fraud, they'd fill the jails to the extent that there'd be no room for any others. So far, you have done the very best thing, you have responded immediately, and are cooperating as fully as you can.

    So what will very likely be the outcome of this, if you cooperate with the investigation, it is highly unlikely that you will be prosecuted. If you agree to a repayment plan, be very sure to make it something you can accomplish. That's much better than to overpromise on your repayment plan and then have to miss payments or something like that. If you lawyer up, refuse to cooperate with them, ignore their communications, give them a lot of stupid excuses, this makes you more likely to be handed over to the DA for prosecution. If that were to happen, at that time, you'd know about it, and then you would need an attorney.

    But be cooperative, be professional, just say, I did wrong, how can I set this right now? Because they can see exactly what went on, since every employer reports how much their employees work and when, they can see exactly what weeks you worked, what you said on your weekly certifications for benefits, etc. There's no argument that you just "didn't know." Everyone knows they aren't supposed to lie on certification documents, and if you didn't know exactly what you were supposed to do, or you didn't know if you were actually entitled for a few more weeks (that you were going to have to lie to get) because you waited to sign up, you could have asked them, or read the literature, and found out in short order that your neighbor's advice was wrong.

    Just cooperate with their idea that you repay them, when they tell you that they want those repayments to start, or they will most likely begin taking steps to recoup the money without your cooperation, such as garnishment of your paychecks or confiscation of your state tax returns, etc. But don't be afraid at this point, it is pretty likely that you can correct this mistake without actual prosecution.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Stressed Out Over Unemployment Overpayment - Please Help

    I do have a lawyer but this is because I am so scared, but the lawyer said I will be doing all the talking. I do not plan on making excuses I just want to correct this horrible problem and pay them back. I am so scared as I have never had any legal issues ever and do not know what to expect with the Investigator. Anytime the investigator contact me I have made it very easy for them to reach me and I want to show that I want to correct this issue.

    Thank you for your help.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1,337

    Default Re: Stressed Out Over Unemployment Overpayment - Please Help

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar_c...31&as_ylo=2018

    Show this to your attorney. While NJ isn't NY, I find that neighboring states tend to be alike. The others are correct that in the past that people that paid didn't get prosecuted, but as you can see from what happened to this guy, paying wasn't enough, and his recorded words with the UI people were used against him.

    After reading the above, your attorney might want to check to see if NY is doing things differently and guide you differently once he knows that things may have changed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,213

    Default Re: Stressed Out Over Unemployment Overpayment - Please Help

    Vime75, please be aware that if commentator and I had told you that it was likely that you'd be prosecuted, chyvan'd be here saying you wouldn't be. She is generally so pro-claimant it's ridiculous, but she's also quite determined to prove either or both of us wrong on as many occasions as possible.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,142

    Default Re: Stressed Out Over Unemployment Overpayment - Please Help

    Okay, the chances of your attorney being able to read and understand what was going on in this situation referenced here are pretty slim except in a very general sense. And the case mentioned sounds astonishingly like every person who was ever chosen to be prosecuted for unemployment fraud, with a classic attitude and situation. I don't think this particular citation is giving any indication of any new era of random wholescale prosecutions of fraud in New York such as occurred in Michigan when they got brilliant and hired that new contractor a few years ago. This person in this citation was quite a bit further along in the process of having committed unemployment fraud and failure to cooperate in the process than our OP.

    I privately have an opinion that the OP is not going to have any better chance of not being prosecuted with an attorney involved in the investigation than they would be without an attorney. There is absolutely NO wiggle room in the evidence for exactly what the employee did, as far as working and drawing benefits. The investigators have all that clearly documented in information provided by the employer. There is no record of or evidence of the claimant seeking counsel from the unemployment system regarding when they started to work or how they should deal with the benefits and receiving erroneous advice. It is, as this point in the process very subjective as to whether they pursue this incident of fraud to the criminal prosecution stage or allow the person to discharge their overpayment.

    Think of it as you would about making a (possibly deliberate) mistake on your federal income taxes. You are not immediately criminally prosecuted the minute they discover you've misreported your income taxes. They let you know they've found this evidence that you failed to report xy or z, and that they'd like their money back, in the amount of xxxx. You get a number to call and respond to this and a possible meeting or two with investigators. And not many of the many many many people who do report or file inaccurately, or fail to report something are prosecuted criminally, are they?

    That the claimant has retained an attorney is nothing to the fraud investigators but indication that the claimant is able to afford an attorney and thus all the poverty justifications of the reason she committed this fraud are less valid, not that they were ever valid in the first place. Of course if it's legal aide or some sort of helping agency of this type that's fine, hope the person is reassured.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1,337

    Default Re: Stressed Out Over Unemployment Overpayment - Please Help

    Quote Quoting cbg
    View Post
    you'd be prosecuted, chyvan'd be here saying you wouldn't be.
    This isn't true, and you know it. The prosecutions in my state are posted on the UI website. Every single one of them followed the same pattern: unpaid overpayment.

    https://des.az.gov/services/employme...ud-convictions

    Then things began to change about a year ago. There were people that made restitution and were still getting prosecuted, but they get pretty much a slap on the hand, but most likely now have a criminal record.

    The anecdotal evidence is that some states aren't putting up with this anymore. NY might be doing the same thing. This person has an attorney. There's nothing wrong with being cautious. Hopefully, the OP returns and tells us if everything blew over.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,213

    Default Re: Stressed Out Over Unemployment Overpayment - Please Help

    No, I don't know it. I know that you have a vested interest in proving that you know more than anyone else, whether you do or not.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,142

    Default Re: Stressed Out Over Unemployment Overpayment - Please Help

    What is lacking in someone who is coming from outside the system looking at anything related to the prosecution of fraud in the program is that there is no perspective of the numbers involved, that there are literally hundreds of thousands of claimants who are nabbed for simple fraud within ANY state's system on a regular basis. As I have repeatedly said, if they prosecuted everyone who attempted to commit fraud on their unemployment, there'd be no room to prosecute any other kind of criminals in the whole nation. Or everyone who cheats on their income tax. Or everyone who lies to the social welfare income support programs, or who receives Social Security disability while still able to work.

    In all these agencies, those who are prosecuted are a select collection of absolutely the worst cases, those who have attempted repeated or big wholescale schemes for defrauding the system, those who will get them the most bang for the buck in the whole public eye of the criminal court system. And as has been mentioned, those who have refused to repay, failed to cooperate, blatantly ignored or foolishly litigated against the agency are the ones they most love to recommend for prosecution.

    When you see in the news that XXXXXXXXX amount of dollars was collected fraudulently by people in the state's U.I. system this means that the state determined fraud in cases amounting to this many dollars, and in a great number of these cases, got the money back into the system. That it is reported that these people committed fraud in this amount, this means that these people were caught by the system trying to get away with committing such fraud. It does not mean, as someone informed me, that if we'd just catch and throw in jail all these sorry no goods bleeding off our state unemployment system, we wouldn't need to raise the taxes for years! And it does not mean that every single one of these people was ever in real danger of being criminally prosecuted or that this is ever going to be feasible.

    In a few places, there have been different things attempted, mostly in the spirit of privatization of the whole system, that prosecuted more people, mostly in error. But there is not anything like a rising trend over the last year or two of putting all U. I. fraud offenders through the criminal justice system, though this idea gains traction every few years and waxes and wanes in popularity. In every state in the union there are legislators who think this is what actually happens or think it would be a great idea. But until they get some control the opiod epidemic, and slow up the "war on drugs" and deal the massive overload of other criminal cases on court dockets everywhere, prosecuting every low level "worked and filled for benefits, got caught, willing to pay the money back" case in the entire state is just not going to happen.

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