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Judges uphold penalties against man for falsifying unemployment benefit documents

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There is sufficient evidence to support the decision that a man must pay back unemployment benefits he used while working and that the man falsified information in order to receive those benefits, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.

In Shawn Telligman v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Indiana Department of Workforce Development Unemployment Insurance Claims Adjudication, 93A02-1304-EX-303, Shawn Telligman appealed the decision of the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that he lied about his employment status in order to obtain unemployment benefits. Telligman submitted his first claim for benefits in October 2009; subsequent claims were filed in May 2010 and October 2010 by Telligman’s then-wife, to whom he shared his user ID and password. His now ex-wife had access to the debit card that contained the benefits except for the period when she was incarcerated.  

An administrative law judge concluded Telligman knowingly failed to disclose that he was working during the time he applied for the benefits or falsified information in order to obtain the benefits. Penalties were assessed against Telligman for the three instances – 25 percent on the first claim; 50 percent for the second claim; and 100 percent for the third claim made.

Telligman appealed, wanting to introduce additional evidence to show that his wife controlled the card and he didn’t know she continued to submit claims. The COA rejected his argument that the May 2010 and October 2010 claims should be treated as one instance instead of two under I.C. 22-4-13-1.1. “Instance” under the statute means each time a new claim for benefits is opened.

The COA affirmed the findings, noting that Telligman was placed on notice when he filed his claim that he was responsible for submitting accurate information and reporting any other wages earned. The user agreement to apply for the benefits also warned to keep user names and passwords confidential.

The judges also pointed out the additional information Telligman wanted to present to the board was available prior to the hearing before the ALJ and there’s no telling if the board would have accepted and credited the evidence in the same way Telligman does.  
 

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