Unemployment insurance (UI) is an invaluable resource used to financially
protect individuals and their families throughout Arizona in the event
that they should lose their employment. Unfortunately, making a single
mistake or poor decision regarding your unemployment benefits can jeopardize
these benefits and potentially expose you to serious criminal charges.
What Is Unemployment Insurance Fraud?
Unemployment insurance fraud is a class VI
felony offense in Arizona which involves knowingly making false statements or representations
in order to obtain or increase one’s UI benefits. Individuals accused
of unemployment fraud can face criminal action and face up to two years
in prison and fines up to $150,000 for each false statement made. For
example, if a person fraudulently receives 10 weeks’ worth of UI
benefits, each week is considered to be a separate false statement, potentially
exposing them to up to 20 years in prison and a $150,000 fine for each offense.
Under A.R.S. 23-771, individuals are only eligible for unemployment benefits if:
- They have registered for work
- They have made a claim for benefits
- They are able to work
- They are actively looking for employment
- They have received a certain amount of wages for at least a specified amount
of time prior to becoming employed
The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) takes unemployment insurance
fraud seriously and tenaciously prosecutes individuals accused of defrauding
the system. With that being said, these charges can often be overcome
or even avoided with the assistance of a powerful attorney.
We Have Your Back – Call (480) 418-0776
At Naegle & Crider Criminal Defense Attorneys, we understand how frightening
it can be to be charged with a crime as serious as
fraud, especially if you have never had a run-in with the law before. With individualized
attention and a true concern for your wellbeing, our
Mesa criminal defense lawyers can help you get through this uncertain time and ensure your best interests
are protected at every turn.
today to discover your legal options in full.