The federal and state governments are putting priority on fraud against government programs. One case highlights a more extreme example.
On September 28, 2015, Carl Artis, 55 from Lancaster, California, was sentenced by United States District Judge George Wu to 80 months in federal prison on fraud charges related to a scheme to defraud the state’s unemployment insurance program and a related scheme to obtain fraudulent federal tax refunds. Judge Wu also ordered the defendant to pay $598,000 in restitution.
Mr. Artis pleaded guilty in February to one count of mail fraud and one count of making false claims against the United States government. According to the plea agreement filed in the case, from at least August 2010 through August 2014, Artis operated a scheme to defraud the California Employment Development Department (EDD) of unemployment insurance benefits.
To execute this, Mr. Artis allegedly registered fictitious companies with the EDD, submitted false wage information for individuals whom he falsely claimed worked for these companies, and then fraudulently applied for and obtained unemployment insurance benefits in the names of these individuals.
In addition, from at least April 2011 until July 2013, according to the plea agreement Mr. Artis engaged in a scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service by submitting fraudulent tax returns that sought tax refunds. In the tax fraud scheme, Mr. Artis allegedly used the identities of many of the same individuals and businesses used in the EDD scheme.
This case shows that given the economy, that the governments (federal and state) are putting priority on unemployment insurance fraud.
Even individuals who are entitled to benefits must remember that they are signing documents under penalty of perjury and that there is a significant risk if statements made on forms submitted to the state are false or misleading. If there is any issue of whether a statement is false or misleading, seek legal advice before it is submitted.
Posted by Tracy Green