California Unemployment Insurance Code 2101 UIC is the state statute that prohibits lying to influence the availability and amount of unemployment insurance benefits. Unemployment insurance fraud can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor. This is sometimes also referred to as “EDD fraud.”
The entire text of the law reads as follows:
2101. (a) It is a violation of this chapter to willfully make a false statement or representation, to knowingly fail to disclose a material fact, or to use a false name, false social security number, or other false identification to obtain, increase, reduce, or defeat any benefit or payment, whether for the maker or for any other person, under any of the following statutes administered by the department:
(1) The provisions of this division.
(2) The provisions of any unemployment insurance law of the federal government.
(3) The provisions of any training allowance law of the federal government.
(4) The provisions of any trade readjustment allowance law of the federal government.
(5) The provisions of any other allowance law of the federal government.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the applicability of Section 470 of the Penal Code to any acts or omissions which violate this section.
California Unemployment Insurance Code 2101 UIC makes it a crime to either:
- willfully make a false statement or representation;
- knowingly fail to disclose a material fact; and/or
- use a false identification
in order to:
- decrease, or
unemployment insurance benefits.
Note that the person lying does not have to be the beneficiary of the payments in order to be convicted under UIC 2101.1
Example: Mark feels bad for his friend Sam who was just laid off from his job. Without telling Sam, Mark doctors Sam’s unemployment insurance application to indicate that Sam’s former salary was $1,000 higher than it actually was.
Here, Mark could be convicted of violating UIC 2101 for willfully making a false statement to increase Sam’s UI benefits.
Unemployment insurance fraud is a wobbler in California. As a misdemeanor, unemployment insurance fraud penalties include:
- up to 1 year in county jail, and/or
- up to $20,000 in fines.
As a felony, unemployment insurance fraud penalties include a California State Prison term of:
- 16 months,
- 2 years, or
- 3 years.
The court can also impose a $20,000 fine in addition to – or instead of – incarceration.2 Plus, defendants may be required to reimburse the unemployment insurer for any wrongfully paid benefits.
See our related article on California forgery laws (PC 470).
- California Unemployment Insurance Code 2101 UIC – False statement or representation, or concealment. See, for example: People v. Booker (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 1994), 21 Cal. App. 4th 1517, 26 Cal. Rptr. 2d 715; People v. Belnick (Cal. App. 4th Dist. 1986), 184 Cal. App. 3d 1449, 229 Cal. Rptr. 414.
- UIC 2122.