What is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement occurs when a person, who has been entrusted with the money/assets of company and intentionally uses it for something other than its intended purpose without consent. It is considered a “white color” crime and is also referred to as “financial fraud” or “larceny”. Embezzlement is usually committed by a person who has been given control of a company’s finances.
Embezzlement can occur when a perpetrator steals small amounts of money at a time to prevent financial administrator’s notice. On a larger scale, the perpetrator takes a substantial sum of money at one time and covers it up by, manipulating financial documents, making fake receipts for transactions that never happened, and/or moving money around from one account to another to cover up the theft. Since the theft of money can take place over a long period of time. Embezzlement is considered a premeditated crime.
When charging a person with embezzlement, the court must prove:
- The defendant must have understood that a crime was being committed when s/he took the money or property. (If the person is not aware that the action was wrong, the crime may be reduced to larceny.)
- The person accused of the crime must believe/know that the assets taken did not rightfully belong to him/her.
- There must be intent. It must be proven that the perpetrator purposely took the money/property in order to defraud the business owner.
- It must be show that the person being charged had been entrusted with the money or property of the company.
The penalty for embezzlement differs depending on the amount of money or value of the property taken. Every state has different ways of determining the severity of the crime, but most considerer anything over $2,500 a felony. Felonies are penalized more harshly.
Other factors that the court takes into consideration when determining the punishment including: the amount of money/property taken and prior criminal record if there is one. The perpetrator is often required to pay restitution to the business and it is common for that person to be put on probation until the money is repaid.
The judge has the discretion to impose jail/prison time, mandatory community service, and make the guilty party pay court fees.
If you have been charged with embezzlement you need someone on your side to help you defend your rights. At Haley Law Firm, LLC we can be your advocate in court. Our legal team will work diligently to guide you through the complexities of your case and get you the best attainable outcome for your case. Don’t hesitate, call today for your free consultation.