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Unemployment insurance fraud is a crime in Wisconsin.  Contact Meyer Van Severen to speak with a criminal defense lawyer immediately. (414) 270-0202

Unemployment insurance fraud: making a false statement to obtain a benefit payment is a criminal charge in Wisconsin.  Depending on the amount of money involved, the offense levels differ:

  • In offenses involving less than $2,500.00 the charge is a misdemeanor, punishable by 9 months jail and $10,000.00 in fines.
  • Secondly, if the offense involves $2,500.00 – $5,000.00 in benefits, the charge is a Class I felony, punishable by up to 3.5 years prison.  That time breaks down into 1.5 years initial confinement and 2 years extended supervision.
  • Thirdly, in offenses involving $5,000.00 – $10,000.00 in benefits, the charge is a Class H felony.  A Class H felony carries a maximum penalty of 6 years prison, broken into 3 years initial confinement and 3 years extended supervision.
  • Finally, cases involving over $10,000.00 are Class G felonies.  A Class G felony carries 10 years in prison.  That ten years breaks into 5 years initial confinement and 5 years extended supervision.

Certainly these penalties indicate exactly how serious these charges are.  Defending your case requires exceptional attention to detail.  Frequently charges involving fraudulent activities require us to dig through stacks of paperwork.  We do this in an attempt to ferret out potential defenses to your charge.

Our criminal defense attorneys are specialists.  We focus 100% of our practice in defending criminal charges, just like the one you’re facing.  To speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers, and to get started, contact us immediately.  (414) 270-0202.  Let’s start fighting.

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What is unemployment fraud?

Section 108.24(1)(a) of the Wisconsin Statutes prohibits unemployment insurance fraud: making a false statement to obtain a benefit payment.  The law says:

(a) Any person who knowingly makes a false statement or representation to obtain any benefit payment under this chapter, either for himself or herself or for any other person, may be penalized as provided in par. (b)

The paragraph (b) mentioned refers back to the penalties we previously discussed.  So whether this charge is a misdemeanor or a felony depends simply upon the amount of money involved in the case.

Secondly, the law is relatively simple.  The “chapter” mentioned is Chapter 108 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  That chapter refers to unemployment insurance, and the resources provided to unemployed individuals.

What must the government prove at trial?

Firstly, all crimes in Wisconsin break down into numerous parts.  We call each of those parts an element.  And at the time of trial, the government must prove each element against you beyond a reasonable doubt.  Finally, in order to complete a plea, frequently courts use the jury instructions.

Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1848 describes the elements of unemployment fraud:

  • Firstly, the defendant obtained a benefit under Chapter 18 for himself or another person by making a statement or representation; and
  • Secondly, the statement or representation to obtain a benefit under Chapter 108 was false when made; and
  • Thirdly, the defendant knew the statement or representation to obtain a benefit under Chapter 108 was false when made.

Finally, there aren’t any special definitions provided in these jury instructions.  The only additional material the court provides to a jury focuses on the value involved in the case.  Again, the values involved focus on the specific offense level.  The jury must certainly make a finding of value of the unemployment insurance benefit payment if the felony offense is charged and if the evidence supports a finding that the required amount is involved.  Heyroth v. State, 275 Wis. 104, 81 N.W.2d 56 (1957).

An unemployment claim showing fraud
Unemployment insurance fraud is a serious criminal charge in Wisconsin. Contact our criminal defense lawyers at (414) 270-0202 for help fighting this charge.

How do we fight this criminal charge?

Firstly, it’s important that we state the obvious: every single criminal case is different.  Every defendant is different.  Because of those issues, defending every case is different.

But the first step we’ll certainly take is to look at the documents you filed while applying for unemployment benefits.  There is a significant chance those records form the basis for the charges against you.  Are the records yours?  Is the document the same one you filled out?  Are they truly defective? These are a few of the questions we’ll determine on the front end.

Finally, it’s important that you maintain your right to silence when investigators speak with you.  You may believe that your case is closed.  They have the documents, right?  The documents aren’t all they need.  If you confess to the charge, you’re eliminating a significant part of the work the government must do.  Remember – you don’t need to make a statement police.  So don’t.

Why should I hire the criminal defense lawyers at Meyer Van Severen, S.C.?

Finally, this is the easy question.  At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. our attorneys focus 100% of their practice on criminal defense.  That means we regularly defend charges just like the one you’re facing.  We’re certainly familiar with the issues in your case and we know how to fight your case.  General practice law firms certainly don’t spend 100% of their time on criminal defense.  Our specialists do.

Secondly, we offer free initial consultations to potential clients.  During this consultation we’ll talk about your options and potential defense strategies.  You can meet with your future criminal defense lawyer and see with your own eyes the skill and dedication we focus on the law.

Don’t hesitate to call now.  We answer calls 24/7 and want to get started fighting your case.  Contact us at (414) 270-0202 now.