Embezzlement is stealing – an abuse of trust. It is theft carried out by individuals who are familiar with the organization and exploit that knowledge for illegal gain. If you are charged with embezzlement, you need an experienced San Diego embezzlement attorney with the Law Offices of Elliott N. Kanter, someone who knows the law and can fight to protect your rights.
SAN DIEGO ATTORNEY DEFINES EMBEZZLEMENT
Embezzlement is fraud. It is a premeditated and systematic crime, with the intent to conceal the activities from others because it is done without their consent. It can be as simple as skimming cash off sales to large, sophisticated schemes. For example, a financial advisor may embezzle funds from his clients. A volunteer handling finances for a non-profit could take funds and cover her tracks. Or a clerk handling large amounts of cash could steal cash from his place of employment.
Embezzlement may take years to detect. If the trusted person steals strategically, they may only steal a small proportion of funds available, in an attempt to avoid detection. As a result, embezzlement can continue on for years. It might go undetected until the funds are needed or an audit of finances has been performed.
WHAT CONSTITUTES EMBEZZLEMENT? SAN DIEGO COUNTY LAW FIRM EXPLAINS
In California, embezzlement is a statutory offense so the definition of the crime varies from statute to statute.
Fraudulent – When an individual converts property for his or her own use.
Conversion – Embezzlement is a crime against ownership, that is, the owner’s right to control the disposition and use of the property.
Property – Embezzlement statutes do not limit the scope of the crime to conversions of personal property.
Lawful Possession – The critical element is that the defendant must have been in lawful possession of the property at the time of the fraudulent conversion and not have mere custody of the property.
Embezzlement can be a serious crime depending on the amount of money stolen or the value of the missing property. It may be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. Embezzlement can be charged for any amount of money. An employer can withhold wages while your case is resolved. Audits will be conducted to investigate the case. To discuss how an embezzlement charge will affect your life, seek representation from an embezzlement attorney in San Diego.
SKILLED ATTORNEYS DISCUSS DIFFERENT EMBEZZLEMENT CHARGES
In the state of California, depending on the value of the property or the assets that are embezzled, the crime may be charged as grand theft, which can be a misdemeanor or a felony, or as petty theft, which is a misdemeanor. If the property embezzled is worth more than $950, the charge is grand theft, and embezzlements for lesser amounts are charged as petty thefts. Under California Penal Code 488, petty theft is any theft offense that does not constitute grand theft. If the value of the property taken does not exceed $950, it will be charged as petty theft.
The bottom line is that there are three possible state-level embezzlement charges in California – grand theft charged as a felony, grand theft charged as a misdemeanor, and petty theft, which is always a misdemeanor. In Southern California, anyone charged with any embezzlement will require the legal advice and services of one of our lawyers.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR EMBEZZLEMENT?
In California, felony grand theft embezzlement is punishable by up to three years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and formal probation. Misdemeanor grand theft embezzlement is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and summary probation. Misdemeanor petty theft fraud is punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and misdemeanor probation.
Federal embezzlement charges are filed against anyone suspected of embezzling money, property, records, or anything else of value that belongs to the U.S. government or one of its agencies, or embezzling property being made under contract for the federal government. If the property or funds stolen value more than $1,000, the charge is a felony, and a conviction is punishable with a $250,000 fine, up to ten years in federal prison, or both. If the value of the property or funds embezzled is $1,000 or less, the charge is a misdemeanor, and a conviction is punishable with a $100,000 fine, up to a year in custody, or both.
A criminal court may also order a convicted embezzler to pay restitution to the victim or victims for the amount (or property) that was embezzled, and the victim or victims may also pursue compensation by filing a private civil lawsuit entirely apart from the criminal proceeding. A convicted embezzler may have difficulty finding employment, too – especially if his or her employer was the victim of the fraud.
WHO CAN BE ACCUSED OF EMBEZZLEMENT? KNOWLEDGEABLE LAWYERS SAY IT COULD HAPPEN TO ANYONE
Anyone who handles large amounts of money for another person or for an institution or business can make a mistake, but making a mistake by itself does not constitute criminal fraud. To gain a conviction for embezzlement or any other crime of theft, a prosecutor must prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. For many embezzlement victims, however, the biggest loss is not money or property. Embezzlement is betrayal, and there’s no restitution for the loss of trust.
Innocent people have been prosecuted for embezzlement in Southern California for a variety of reasons, but when that happens, a criminal defense attorney can usually help. Sometimes a mere clerical error can look like embezzlement. Some people were simply the victim of a misunderstanding or made an honest mistake with no criminal intent. Other people may have been framed for embezzlement. A top criminal defense lawyer can review your case and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome. To discuss your legal options, contact an aggressive attorney as soon as possible.
CALL ONE OF THE TOP LAW FIRMS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY PROMPTLY FOR LEGAL HELP
If you are charged with embezzlement, you need to call an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney Elliott N. Kanter as soon as possible. Even if you aren’t guilty, being charged can carry a stigma that makes it difficult for you to obtain employment. An embezzlement attorney is familiar with criminal law and may be able to negotiate with prosecutors to get your charged reduced or even dropped.
Our attorneys have over 30 years of professional experience defending clients in criminal cases and are committed to fighting for justice. Some of our lawyers’ practice areas include assault and battery, DUI, theft, elder abuse, theft crimes, sex crimes, white-collar crimes, domestic violence, and drug crimes. So don’t delay in calling our office located at 2445 5th Ave, Suite #350, San Diego, 92101. Please call our phone or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation today.