Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 32. General Penalties

Making False Statement Or Representation Or Failing To Disclose Material Fact In Order To Obtain Or Increase Benefits -- Administrative Penalty And Remedy

39-51-3201. Making false statement or representation or failing to disclose material fact in order to obtain or increase benefits -- administrative penalty and remedy. (1) (a) A person who makes a false statement or representation knowing it to be false or who knowingly fails to disclose a material fact in order to obtain or increase any benefit or other payment under this chapter or under an employment security law of any other state or territory or the federal government, either for the individual or for any other person, is:

(i) disqualified for benefits for a period of not more than 52 weeks, beginning with the first compensable week following the date of determination by the department, with the length of time of the disqualification to be determined by the department in accordance with the severity of each case; and

(ii) required to repay to the department, pursuant to the provisions of 39-51-3206, a sum equal to the amount wrongfully received by the individual, plus a department-assessed penalty equal to 50% of the fraudulently obtained benefits. The department-assessed penalty incorporates the 15% penalty required under 42 U.S.C. 503(a).

(b) Benefits may not be used to offset the penalty due. The individual subject to this section is not required to repay any amount wrongfully obtained more than 5 years prior to the date of the department's determination that the individual made false statements, willful nondisclosure, or misrepresentation.

(2) (a) An individual, other than a person with a bona fide disability that prevents the individual from making or filing a claim for benefits on the individual's own behalf, who allows or authorizes another person to make or file a claim for benefits on the individual's behalf without designating that person as an authorized agent is subject to the penalties prescribed in subsection (1).

(b) The designation of a person who is not an attorney as an individual's agent must be in writing and signed by the individual. The designation must specify:

(i) the period of time covered by the designation; and

(ii) any limits on the agent's authority.

(c) Any action taken or information provided by an agent has the same effect as an action taken or information provided by the individual.

(3) Of the money collected from the penalties under subsection (1)(a), 70% must be deposited in the account provided for in 39-51-406. The remaining 30% of the collected penalties must be deposited in the unemployment insurance fund provided for in 39-51-401. Money deposited in the account provided for in 39-51-406 may be appropriated to the department to be used to detect and collect unpaid taxes and overpayments of benefits to the extent that federal grant revenues are inadequate for these purposes. Money in the account provided for in 39-51-406 not appropriated for these purposes must be transferred by the department to the unemployment insurance trust fund at the end of each fiscal year.

History: En. Sec. 16, Ch. 137, L. 1937; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 150, L. 1951; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 164, L. 1955; amd. Sec. 10, Ch. 156, L. 1961; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 38, L. 1969; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 17, L. 1975; amd. Sec. 30, Ch. 368, L. 1975; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 240, L. 1977; R.C.M. 1947, 87-145(1); amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 349, L. 1981; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 226, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 27, Ch. 373, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 11, Ch. 60, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 17, Ch. 88, L. 2009; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 203, L. 2013.