A. Burden of Proof
In order to find a claimant disqualified under Section 8-809(b),
it is not necessary that fraud be proven "beyond a reasonable
doubt." Cronhardt v. Venture Vending, 854-BH-81.
Where the claimant knowingly failed to report wages and endorsed
benefit checks certifying that during the weeks for which
the benefit check was being paid he performed no services
for which earnings were paid or payable, a finding of
fraud under Section 8-809(b) is supported even though
the actual claim forms in question were not available.
The claimant did not make a mistake, and evidence supports
a finding that the claimant's actions were deliberate
and willful. Hamm v. Abacus Corporation, 619-BH-84.
Where the only evidence that the claimant had worked during the
week in question was agency form 222D, completed and mailed
in by the employer, but where that information was contradicted
by the W-2 form and by pay stubs, both also prepared by
the employer and submitted into evidence by the claimant,
there was insufficient evidence that the claimant had
worked during the week in question. Nagy, 1-BR-85.
The claimant was eligible for benefits of $180 per week. During a number
of weeks that he filed for and received benefits, he earned
money in excess of his weekly benefit amount. The employer
was not present at the hearing and the agency entered
virtually no evidence. Neither claim forms nor claim checks
were entered. The only evidence that the claimant made
a false statement was that the agency's computer paid
an excessive amount of benefits during a number of weeks.
There are many reasons why this could have occurred. Without
direct evidence, the Board will not infer that the claimant
knowingly filed a false statement in order to increase
his benefits under Section 8-809(b). However, the claimant
clearly was overpaid benefits within the meaning of Section
8-809(a). Faulcon v. Warren-Ehret Company of Maryland, 994-BH-91.
The claimant received benefits of $108 per week for each of six weeks.
The claimant also had earnings during each of these weeks.
The claimant earned $65 the first week and $323 per week
for the next five weeks. Clearly, the claimant was eligible
for only a partial check for the first week, and nothing
for the next five weeks. However, there is insufficient
evidence that the claimant submitted a false statement,
much less knowingly submitted such a statement. It cannot
be inferred merely from the fact that the claimant was
paid, that she must have submitted false claim forms.
There is no direct evidence that the claimant submitted
a false statement. A finding that the claimant committed
a fraudulent act, based solely on the fact that the benefit
system paid her claims, is inappropriate. Hines-Tyler
v. Naval Academy Athletic Association, 1288-BR-91.
B. Element of Intent
Whether the claimant deliberately failed to disclose a
material fact in order to obtain benefits, within the
meaning of Section 8-809(b), is a question of intent.
Bogan v. OCS Home Remodelers, 1555-BH-82.
The claimant corporate officer performed sporadic services for a remodeling
company for which he received no pay or other remuneration.
The claimant collected unemployment insurance benefits.
The fact that the claimant failed to disclose that he
was a corporate officer does not automatically create
a disqualification under Section 8-809(b), especially
since he was never asked about his corporate officer status.
Further, the claimant believed he was entitled to benefits
because he received no wages and therefore had no intent
to defraud the agency. Bogan v. OCS Home Remodelers, 1555-BH-82.
Where a claimant reported his self-employment status, in addition to wages
earned at other part-time employment, the claimant's failure
to report remuneration received in self-employment does
not support a finding of fraud under Section 8-809(b).
The claimant was attempting to comply with the requirements
of the law and had no intention of withholding information
to obtain or increase benefits. Joy v. Atlantic Vinyl Repair Service, 392-BH-84.
The claimant testified that he called the local office when he began
working and was told that he did not need to report his
earnings or cease filing claims until he actually received
wages. The claimant received wages within two weeks, but
did not report them because he disputed the wages with
the employer. Within another week, this dispute was resolved.
The claimant filed several subsequent claim forms on which
he did not indicate that he was working. Even if the claimant
was instructed, as he testified, by the local office,
he should have reported his wages after his dispute over
the wages was resolved. The claimant gave no rational
explanation as to why he continued to file claims after
he was both working and receiving paychecks. The claimant's
falsification of his claim forms was done deliberately
and knowingly and with the intent of obtaining benefits.
Ruttenberg v. Midwest Com System, 814-BH-84.