Michigan Unemployment Fraud Defense Attorneys

Michigan Unemployment Fraud Defense Attorneys

A law enforcement task force is cracking down on unemployment fraud in Michigan. In many of these cases, there is no intent to defraud, or there is a misunderstanding. A person who makes a mistake or has no intent to commit a crime should not have their life ruined with a criminal conviction.

The Tack Force Investigating and Prosecuting Unemployment Fraud

In January of 2020, the Attorney General announced the creation of a Task Force for investigating and prosecuting allegations fraud in Michigan’s unemployment insurance program. The Task Force is comprised of the Attorney General’s Office, the Michigan State Police, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Office of Inspector General, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, the Michigan Department of Management & Budget, and the Michigan Department of Treasury. With the combined power of all of these agencies, a person accused of unemployment fraud will need an equally powerful defense attorney to help them avoid charges or a conviction, if possible, and get out of a harsh sentence.

What is unemployment fraud?

Michigan law defines unemployment fraud as obtaining benefits to which an individual is not entitled. An unemployment agency employee or agent must examine the facts and independently determine that the claimant or the employer is responsible for a willful or intentional violation before charges are filed against a claimant.

A person, including a claimant for unemployment benefits, an employing entity, or an owner, director, or officer of an employing entity, who willfully violates or intentionally fails to comply with the Michigan Employment Security Act, is guilty of Unemployment Fraud.

Penalties for Unemployment Fraud

The maximum penalty for Unemployment Fraud in Michigan depends upon the amount of the alleged fraud. If a violation is determined to be “intentional,” it is a more serious offense than if it was only considered to be “knowing.” Intentional means that the fraud is calculated and premeditated. Knowing means that the suspect was aware he or she improperly received funds and kept the money or refused to return it.

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Intentional Unemployment Fraud

  • $25,000 or less is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, up to 2 years of probation, a fine of 3 times the amount of the loss, and up to 2,080 hours of community service.
  • $25,000 to $100,000 is a felony, punishable by up to 2 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, a fine of 3 times the amount of the loss, and up to 4,160 hours of community service.
  • $100,000 or more is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, a fine of 3 times the amount of the loss, and up to 10,400 hours of community service.

Knowing Unemployment Fraud

  • $100,000 or less is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, up to 2 years of probation, and up to 2,080 hours of community service
  • $100,000 or more is a felony, punishable by up to 2 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, and up to 4,160 hours of community service.

Making a False Statement or Material Omission With the Intent to Defraud

  • $1,000 to $25,000 is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, up to 2 years of probation, and up to 2,080 hours of community service.
  • $25,000 or more is a felony, punishable by up to 2 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, and up to 4,160 hours of community service.

Obtaining or Withholding Unemployment Benefits Obtained by False Statement or Material Omission

  • $3,500 to $25,000, is a felony, punishable by up to 2 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, and up to 4,160 hours of community service.
  • $25,000 or more is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, and up to 10,400 hours of community service.
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Requiring an Employee to Make a False Statement or Material Omission as a Condition of Employment

  • Imprisonment for not more than 10 years, up to 20,800 hours of community service, and up to 5 years on probation

Conspiracy to Commit Unemployment Fraud (an agreement to defraud the state of Michigan)

  • Failure to obtain funds, punishable by up to 2 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, and up to 4,160 hours of community service.
  • $25,000 or less is a felony, punishable by up to 2 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, and up to 4,160 hours of community service.
  • $25,000 or more is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, and up to 10,400 hours of community service.

Unemployment Embezzlement (Fraud by an Employee of the state of Michigan)

  • $1,000 to $25,000 is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, up to 2 years of probation, and up to 2,080 hours of community service.
  • $25,000 to $100,000 is a felony, punishable by up to 2 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, a fine of 3 times the amount of the loss, and up to 4,160 hours of community service.
  • $100,000 or more is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, a fine of 3 times the amount of the loss, and up to 10,400 hours of community service.
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Defending Unemployment Fraud Allegations

The team of defense attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience successfully representing clients on felony and misdemeanor fraud allegations, including Unemployment Fraud, Embezzlement, and Conspiracy.  We have several lawyers that specialize in criminal defense and will collaborate to build a defense for every client. They will  find a way to reduce or eliminate a potentially harsh sentence.

A person accused of unemployment fraud must have either intentionally or knowingly defrauded the state of Michigan. It is hard to prove what is in someone’s mind, and a savvy and tenacious defense attorney will know the best strategy to cast doubt on the government’s allegations or knowledge or intent. If a defendant received or withheld unemployment benefits by accident or mistake, he or she is not guilty of unemployment fraud.

Unemployment Fraud Defense Lawyers

If you have been accused of fraud or embezzlement of unemployment benefits, call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation, and we will take the time to talk with you, answer all of your questions, and address each of your concerns. We will work with you to develop a winning defense strategy.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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