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O’Brien Law Firm protects unemployment recipient from unfair fraud claims

On December 18, 2014, Kerry O’Brien of the O’Brien Law Firm tried a case against the Texas Workforce Commission on behalf of a claimant for unemployment benefits. That case is Tuttle, Cause No. 12-547-C368, in the 368th Judicial District Court of Williamson County. After receiving a fraud decision from the TWC and bills to repay over $12,000 of unemployment benefits, as well as the threat of potential criminal charges, the client filed suit to get the decision reversed. Although the TWC only needed to show a small amount of evidence of fraud to prevail, O’Brien won a ruling from the Court that there was absolutely no evidence of fraud. As a result, the client avoids repayment of about 80% of those benefits. “The TWC issues fraud rulings against good people who make honest mistakes in how they handle their unemployment benefits claim,” O’Brien said. “The agency casts its net too wide and causes a lot of unnecessary pain and fear for a lot of people. I was so glad we could get this fraud ruling reversed for this great client.”

There are many circumstances where Texas unemployment benefits claimants intentionally defraud the system. For instance, sometimes a claimant will get a new, full-time job but continue to request unemployment benefits. Every time they request those benefits, they are make a false statement when they say they didn’t work or earn money during the claim period. The Texas Workforce Commission issues public notices regarding criminal prosecutions of unemployment benefits fraud. If you earn money during your benefits claim period, you want to report that if you want to avoid the possibility of being deemed to have committed fraud. Not only do you run the risk of criminal prosecution, but the TWC can and often does void your entire claim. That means that even if you were fraudulent for a few weeks of your claim period, the TWC can and often does void your entire year of benefits. You would be required to pay back everything you received during that claim year, including weeks in which you reported properly.

Talk to an attorney if you have questions about reporting properly, or if you’ve been accused of fraud. The O’Brien Law Firm knows that people make both intentional and unintentional mistakes, and has helped people work through their situation, whatever it is.

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