Can you go to jail for omitting a degree on a background check?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can you go to jail for omitting a degree on a background check?

I omitted a degree on my background check. I applied for a new position with the same company that did not require a degree, however I left my degree on my resume. The job I got the pay grade is the same for one or without one. I was accused of getting paid more because I said that I had a degree. The hiring manager was a very good friend of mine, and be it would not have matter to him, I was getting the job. I know I can get terminated for this. I was so upset after being in HR, that when I got back to my desk I sent my resignation letter. Can I go to jail for this?

Asked on February 2, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In theory you could face criminal charges if you were paid amounts you would not have been paid except for lying: obtaining money by lying is fraud or can be considered a form of theft. It is very unlikely that the employer would look to press charges or that the prosecutor would take this matter seriously and actually bring charges, unless you're talking about receiving a very great of money by lying, but be aware that receiving money through deception is, as stated, technically a crime.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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