Embezzlement is a big and scary word for a certain type of property theft.
It’s the kind of property theft that happens when someone entrusted to manage someone else’s money or a business’ money steals from the person or business and uses it for personal gain.
The big factor in embezzlement cases is that the person accused of stealing did not have ownership of the money or property, but the person did have access to it.
Basically, embezzlement is stealing with the added factor of being trusted to oversee the very thing that was stolen.
What are some examples of embezzlement?
Embezzlement can happen in many different situations. Examples include:
- A bank teller who has access to money in the bank steals from the vault.
- A family member is caring for a relative and steals money or property from the relative.
- An investor who is handling client investments takes the money for his or her own gain.
- A computer technician who steals laptops from his or her company’s supply room
In many cases, the person accused of stealing money manipulates or alters financial records in an attempt to conceal the theft.
How is embezzlement punished?
Embezzlement is considered a serious crime, and it can end with jail time, a hefty fine, or both.
In most states, the seriousness of the crime depends on the following:
- Property value – how much money was stolen? What was the value of the property that was stolen? Was it less than $500? More than $20,000?
- Type of property – Was it furniture? Or was it an assault rifle that was stolen during a hurricane? These are the types of questions that will have to be answered before it can be determined just how serious of a case it is.
- Fraudulent intent – If you’re going to be convicted of embezzlement, the prosecution has to prove that the defendant knowingly defrauded the victim. In some cases, loved ones will prove or try to prove that they had the right to that money. If that is proven, then there is no embezzlement.
How does restitution factor into an embezzlement case?
In many cases, the state will make people who are convicted of embezzling pay restitution to their victims. Restitution is simply the act of giving back something that is owed or compensating for injury or loss. In criminal cases, restitution is typically added onto the fines that are handed down, and also any prison sentence given to the defendant.
Are you or someone you love accused of embezzling? Your first step is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney like Jacqui Ford. Contact Jacqueline Ford’s office today for help.