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April 01, 2014

An individual’s inconsistent statements to different parties can be deemed a willful false statement or misrepresentation



An individual’s inconsistent statements to different parties can be deemed a willful false statement or misrepresentation
2014 NY Slip Op 01805, Appellate Division, Third Department

A civilian employee, [Claimant] working at a state correctional facility was dismissed from his employment after he was arrested for attempting to smuggle contraband, hidden in his lunch pail, into the facility.

The Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board found, among other things, Claimant “engaged in disqualifying misconduct and made willful false statements to obtain benefits” and reduced his right to receive future benefits and assessed a recoverable overpayment of benefits.

The Claimant appealed the Board’s determination.

The Appellate Division affirmed the Board’s decision, explaining that "A 'willful' false statement or misrepresentation is one which was made knowingly, intentionally or deliberately, and criminal intent . . . need not be shown."

As to whether a willful false statement was made is a question of fact for the Board to resolve. The record showed that when Claimant was arrested, he told the police that he knew that items found in his lunch pail were considered contraband and he was aware of the employer's policy prohibited bringing contraband into the facility.

In contrast, Claimant told the Department of Labor's representative when questioned about his loss of employment that he was unaware of any wrongdoing on his part and had done nothing wrong.

Such inconsistent statements, said the Appellate Division, provide substantial evidence to support the Board's finding that claimant made willful false statements in an effort to obtain unemployment insurance benefits.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2014/2014_01805.htm
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