This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).








Ammanuel Ambaye,





Department of Employment and Economic Development,




Filed July 18, 2006


Hudson, Judge


Department of Employment and Economic Development

File No. 1255205



Ammanuel Ambaye, 500 South Tenth Street, #314, Minneapolis, MN 55404 (pro se relator)


Linda A. Holmes, Department of Employment and Economic Development, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101-1351 (for respondent)


            Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Parker, Judge.*

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Relator challenges the decision affirming his obligation to repay the Department of Employment and Economic Development (department) the benefits he received as a result of his misrepresentations and the statutory penalty assessed on those benefits.  Because the decision was not made on unlawful procedure or affected by an error of law, and because it is supported by substantial evidence, we affirm.


Relator Ammanuel Ambaye filed for unemployment benefits on October 19, 2003, after being told that his hours would be reduced from full-time to 32 hours per week.  Although he continued working full-time and receiving his full salary until November 1, 2003, he reported to the department that he earned only $440 for the two weeks ending on that date.  October 19–25, 2003, was his waiting week, and he was paid $185 in benefits for October 26–November 1, 2003.

During the 25 weeks between November 8, 2003, and April 24, 2004, relator reported to the department every two weeks that he was not working and had not received income.  The department paid him $350 per week in unemployment benefits, a total of $8,750.  In fact, during this period, every two weeks relator worked 48 hours and received $898.56, i.e., he was working 24 hours and receiving $449 per week.

            Relator also received a final check of $165 for the week ending on May 1, 2004, when he earned $449.  Thus, he received a total of $8,750 + $185 + $165, or $9,100 in unemployment benefits.

            Minn. Stat. § 268.18, subd. 2 (2004), provides that when benefits have been fraudulently obtained, the commissioner is to assess a penalty of 25% of the overpayment.  Relator was assessed a penalty of $2,275.  He appealed.  Following a de novo hearing, an unemployment law judge (ULJ) affirmed the penalty.  Relator requested reconsideration, and the ULJ again affirmed.

            Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 7(d) (Supp. 2005), provides in relevant part:


            The Minnesota Court of Appeals may affirm the decision of the unemployment law judge or remand the case for further  proceedings; or it may reverse or modify the decision if the  substantial rights of the petitioner may have been prejudiced because the findings, inferences, conclusion, or decision are:

            . . . .

            (3) made upon unlawful procedure;

            (4) affected by other error of law; [or]

            (5) unsupported by substantial evidence in view of the entire record as submitted . . . .


            The department presented records of the telephone claims relator made every two weeks.  They show that relator answered, “No” to three questions: “Did you work?”, “Did you receive or have you applied for income from any other source that you haven’t already told us about?” and “Did you quit, get fired, or refuse a job offer that you haven’t already told us about?”  The records also show that relator answered, “Yes” to the question “Were you available for work?”

            Relator testified that “operation error with the phone system or misunderstanding” was responsible for his responses. 

[The phone] tells you had you been looking for a job and have there been any change.  I said no, there hasn’t been any change.  But I guess once you miss an answer what follows may carry to be an error that’s what happened.  It is an honest error, mistake.


The ULJ noted that:

[N]one of the wages, which [relator] claims to have reported, were ever recorded in any of those months.  We must conclude that [relator] responded in a fashion calculated to provide him the maximum benefits and not to reflect the actual facts of his part-time employment.


The ULJ’s decision is not made on unlawful procedure or affected by any error of law, and it is supported by substantial evidence.


* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.