I have received a few calls recently from people who are afraid of being charged, or have been charged, with obtaining money under false pretenses, following collection of their unemployment benefits. If the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training believes that you were working while collecting unemployment benefits, then they will take action to recover their money and may even refer the case to the Attorney General’s office for prosecution.
The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training has stated on numerous occasions that they are looking to crackdown on those collecting unemployment benefits while maintaining some form of employment. These “crimes” are usually charged under R.I.G.L. 11-41-4 “obtaining money under false pretenses.”
Critical to this charge and your defense is that this crime requires “intent to cheat or defraud.” It may be difficult for the prosecution to prove any intent to cheat or defraud the Department of Labor and Training.
An investigation will almost always be opened by the Department of Labor and Training before any criminal charges are brought against you. It is imperative that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney early, if possible, during the initial investigation by the Department of Labor and Training. With proper attorney representation you may be able to keep this matter between yourself and the department without the added trouble of criminal charges.