Californians Beware: Make Sure You Report All Income to Avoid Being Charged with Unemployment Insurance Fraud
There are a lot of negative connotations that go along with the phrase California unemployment insurance fraud. We typically think of unemployment insurance (U.I.) fraud in terms of someone unlawfully cashing another person’s unemployment check; someone creating a fictitious company and listing themselves as an employee who is eligible to collect benefits; and sitting back while collecting unemployment insurance benefits instead of actively looking for work.
But the fact is that California unemployment insurance fraud is much broader than these typical types of scenarios. You could be charged with this offense even if you innocently don’t report freelance income that you collect while receiving benefits.
Let’s say you were working for a company and you were laid off. You apply for and obtain U.I. benefits. While collecting benefits, you do some irregular freelance work on the side, not making nearly what you were while with your company. Because the work isn’t steady…and because you’re not earning much…you don’t think that you need to report that income to California’s Employment Development Department (EDD). Think again. You must report all income (and, to be on the safe side) any pension, additional state benefits, etc. to ensure that you are in compliance with all applicable guidelines.
If in doubt, consult with the EDD or a local California criminal fraud attorney so that you’re not forced to seek representation at a later time due to an arrest.