ARS 23-785 Suspension of Benefits

Current A.R.S. 23-785 allows suspension of benefits for as long as one year: Any person who knowingly makes a false statement or representation believing it to be false or who knowingly fails to disclose a material fact in order to obtain or increase a benefit or other payment under this chapter either for himself or for another person, or under an employment security law of another state, the federal government or a foreign government, is guilty of a class 6 felony. Each such false statement or representation of failure to disclose a material fact shall constitute a separate offense. Current A.R.S. 23-778 provides as follows: Any person who, within the twenty-four calendar months immediately preceding a week in which he files a valid claim for benefits, has made a false statement or representation of a material fact knowing it to be false, or knowingly failed to disclose a material fact with intent to obtain benefits under this chapter, shall be disqualified for the week for which the claim was filed and for not more than the fifty-one weeks immediately following such week as determined by the commission according to the circumstances in each case. In Miranda v. Beaman, 95 Ariz. 388, 391 P.2d 555 (1964), an applicant for unemployment benefits knowingly submitted false statements of weekly earnings to obtain those benefits. Id. at 390-91, 391 P.2d at 556-57. After he pled guilty to offenses based upon this conduct, he was disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits on another claim. See id. The court's opinion does not identify the charged offense, but its subsequent discussion of A.R.S. 23-785 implies that applicant was convicted of violating this statute. See Miranda at 391, 391 P.2d at 556-57. The Arizona Supreme Court rejected the applicant's argument that this disqualification constituted double jeopardy: As to Miranda's first contention 23-778 and 23-785 A.R.S. (1956) are neither inconsistent, nor cumulative. the latter section makes it a criminal offense to make a false statement or fail to disclose a material fact knowingly in order to obtain benefits under the Employment Security Act, and imposes a penalty upon conviction. Section 23-778, on the other hand, goes to the qualification of an applicant for benefits in the future. No question of double jeopardy can be raised because of the application of both of the statutes, since only one is a criminal offense. The double jeopardy clause does not preclude the imposition of both a criminal and a civil sanction in respect of the same act or omission. Helvering v. Mitchell, 303 U.S. 391, 58 S. Ct. 630, 82 L. Ed. 917 (1937). Id. at 391, 391 P.2d at 557.