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State v. Mr. W (DMC No. 14191)

Mr. W worked as a Banquet Captain for the Omni Hotel Management Corporation for years. For a period of 117 weeks, he collected Unemployment Benefits as if he was unemployed. When he would get work, he was supposed to report any earnings he received. He only reported earnings 17 times out of the 117 weeks, and all of those earnings were underreported. He was ultimately contacted by an Investigator, and he claimed that he only had sporadic work, when in reality, he was working full time. He never sent a letter of explanation, which they had requested.

Ultimately, Mr. W was charged with 35 Counts of False Statements in order to obtain benefits (Benefits Fraud), 1 Count of Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices and 1 Count of Theft. If he was convicted of all counts and given the maximum, he could have spent more than 80 years in prison.

After Mr. W became our client, we contacted the Assistant Arizona Attorney General handling the case and we worked out a restitution plan. In exchange for fully paying back all of the amount of the loss plus interest (just over $26,000), the Prosecutor agreed to dismiss all but 3 Counts of False Statements and offered a Class 6 Undesignated Offense, with a possibility of it being designated as a Misdemeanor on the date of Sentencing. At Sentencing, we were able to show the Judge that Mr. W was remorseful and appreciated the wrongfulness of his actions. In addition, we showed that he had a lack of criminal history, that he had good character, had performed prior good acts, and that he had cooperated and behaved appropriately during the pre-trial and pre-sentencing period of the case. The Judge agreed with us and immediately designated Mr. W’s case as a Misdemeanor on the date of Sentencing.

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