What circumstances/criteria are involved in determining whether to prosecute for unemployment fraud?

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What circumstances/criteria are involved in determining whether to prosecute for unemployment fraud?

Recently audited by WI DWD. Numerous (and sometimes large) discrepancies exist between wages reported by me and actual wages earned. I work in restaurant, receive tips (mostly credit card; all deferred to paycheck). Often difficult to accurately estimate earned wages – a number of variables including direct tip-outs to support staff and private parties worked for which tips allocated up to a week later. I did not knowingly underreport wages, but mistakes were made in reporting and above factors may not explain all discrepancies. Now worried that I may be charged with multiple fraud cases. Recourse? Should I retain a criminal defense attorney? In Madison, WI.

Asked on April 5, 2011 under Criminal Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Fraud is difficult to prove because it requires proof of intent.  Fraud can be both criminal and civil.  The standard of proof in a criminal case is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  Unless a prosecutor has a solid case in which proof beyond a reasonable doubt can be established, prosecution would not be feasible.

In a civil case (lawsuit), fraud still requires proof of intent, but the standard of proof is less than in a criminal case.  In a civil case, the standard of proof is proof by a preponderance of the evidence.  A preponderance of the evidence means that it is more likely than not that the allegations are true.

Since you said there were multiple incidents of discrepancies, you may want to speak with an attorney, but there is no need to worry since you haven't received any notification of any action against you resulting from the audit.


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