When a person applies for most types of jobs in this country, he/she is normally required to provide information indicating he/she is either a United States citizen or otherwise legally authorized to work here. Of course, we all know that employers do not always check that information for various reasons. One of the items a prospective employee would normally have to present to an employer is a valid social security number. If the employer requests the applicant’s social security number and the applicant provides a false social security number, the applicant can be arrested on a felony fraud charge in Florida.
In Florida, it is illegal to knowingly present any false or misleading oral or written information as evidence of identity for the purpose of obtaining employment. The same law makes it illegal to present false identification information to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.
In a recent case near Jacksonville, Florida, the Florida Department of Revenue learned that the defendant gave a false social security number to obtain a job at a waste management company, and he was arrested for fraud. The criminal defense lawyer argued that the defendant was not guilty because the company knew the defendant’s social security number was false. In that case, since no one was mistaken as to the defendant’s identity and legal status, there was no fraud. Fraud normally requires an intent to deceive someone to get some sort of benefit.
The court sided with the state. Whether the employer knows the employee is illegal is not relevant to a charge of fraud against the employee. If the employee provides false identifying information to obtain a job, that employee can be charged with fraud, which is a felony crime in Florida.