What to do if I just found out that my brother did a fraudulent claim for unemployment under my name and now caused a fraud investigator to call me?

She told me what had happened and talked to my brother and he agreed to transfer the balance that he took from my unemployment to his name meaning he is gonna pay for it , the fraud investigator said she transferred the balance to his name and for him to pay it. She has me if I wanted to press charges and I said no. Now I find out from someone else that it’s not up to me if I want to press charges or not, it’s up to the prosecutor and courts. Does anyone know if that’s true? I don’t want him to go to prison, since he is paying it back. What do you guys think can happen?

Asked on March 14, 2015 under Criminal Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

That's correct--it's not up to you, it's up to the authorities (e.g. the prosecutor) do decide whether not to press charges. That's because the state (the authorities) are the party in interest in a criminal case, and they press charges to punish someone for breaking the law. Unlike in a civil case (a lawsuit), where the injured person (the plaintiff) is in charge of the case and can decide whether or not to bring it, in order to try to get his/her money back or other compensation, in a criminal case, the injured or defrauded or identify-stolen person is just a witness (the complaining witness) the crime. That said, the authorities will often respect the complaining witnesses wishes, especially because it can be difficult to prosecute with an uncooperative or reluctant witness--but they are not required to do what you want. You can ask them to not proscute, but they make the final decision.


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