Fraud / Forgery - Misdemeanor or Felony??

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Old Sep 9th, 2007, 03:54 PM   #1
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Default Fraud / Forgery - Misdemeanor or Felony??

Questions with situation background information following:
1. Is this fraud or forgery or both?
2. Is this a misdemeanor or Felony?
3. If convicted of misdemeanor or Felony what is most likely outcome -- fine, jail time both -- and is there "recommended" or traditional outcomes for this type situation.
4. As co-worker who discovered this situation - am I in jeopardy if I *don't* inform my employer (associated wtih criminal act by not reporting discovery)?

Situation / Background
State - California
Employee advised employer that they had a medical condition requiring the employee to work at home.

Employee has worked at home for the last few years.

Company policy changed limiting in-home work exceptions. Employer asked employee to submit doctor's excuse.

Employee submitted a "fake" doctor's note to employer.

No known financial loss (if relevant) - as employer provided employee with same equipment employee would've used in the office. Employee pays for all other costs needed to do the work (fax, phone, office supplies etc.).
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Old Sep 9th, 2007, 11:25 PM   #2
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Default Re: Fraud / Forgery - Misdemeanor or Felony??

The doctor's note is a forgery, the work at home scam is a fraud on the employer. It would sound as if this was a misdemeanor at most, if anything at all. The doctor was not harmed, other than having his name used on a letter for the emplyee's work, so he probably wouldn't press any charges. (If it had been on a prescription that would be different.) The law probably would not be involved in this unless the employer pressed charges.

However, even then whether this would be a misd. or a fel. would depend on what assertion the employer would make if he filed this as a crime:
1- Did the employee complete the same amount of work that he would have in the office? (Do less work at home than in the office, thereby robbing the employer by not doing his fair share of work?)
2-Was the employee paid for hours/work that was not done? (Paid for doing nothing?)
3- Was the employee paid for more hours than he should have been? (How many hours was he overpaid and at what rate of pay?)
4-Did the employee recieve other benefits at the business' expense that he should not have gotten? (Did this result in employer's unnecessary expenses?)5-What equipment had to be purchased for employee to do this work at home? (Extra expenses for business?)
If any of these answers result in extra expenses for the business, the employer may (but is not likely to) press charges, unless the sum of money is great. If the company actually lost no money over this, there would be no need to prosecute the person. They would handle it internally.

The most likely outcome of this is firing the employee, and forcing him to return all equipment to the office. As a bystander in all of this, you then wonder if you will be held accountable if you don't turn this person in. That depends on your boss. If he finds out, will he know you had knowledge of this? (If he will know you knew of this, it will not look good on you having helped or allowed this person to continue this, especially knowing it is against company policy and that it is probably costing them extra money.) You, too, might be fired or at least kept from any promotions. Do you feel it would be morally right to turn him in? Are you worried he would end your friendship/turn on you/take revenge against you? Would he know it was you who turned him in?

Ultimately, whether you turn him in or not is a personal decision that you must make and live with. But he is breaking company rules, and is likely faking a disability to do so. Those with actual disabilities fought long and hard to be awarded the rights they have, and this probably includes working at home. Those rights should be reserved for those that actually need them, and not for some faker.
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