Choose a Resourceful, Aggressive, Experienced Embezzlement Defense Attorney
Considered a white collar crime, embezzlement involves an employee or other member or trustee of an organization or company taking money for their own use. A conviction can have significant consequences that include jail time, fines, and long-term reductions in employment options. The good news is that there are defense options and Simmons Wagner, LLP can find the right one for you. Call us now at (949) 439-5857 for more information.
The Prosecution Must Prove These Four Elements for an Embezzlement Conviction
In order to be found guilty of embezzlement, the prosecution must have proven:
- You had some type of relationship with the victim. This is often an employer / employee relationship but not always.
- You were entrusted to property, money, or something else of value within the scope of that relationship.
- You took the property, money, or valued item.
- You took the property, money, or valued item with the intent to deprive the legal owner of their property.
If all three elements are not present, then you did not legally commit embezzlement – though you might be guilty of a different theft crime.
Examples of Embezzlement
While many people think of embezzlement only in terms of a high-powered executive stealing money from the company for whom they work, this is far from the only situation that involves embezzlement. Consider these other examples for a better understanding of how many different situations can qualify.
- A valet parking attendant takes a car they were entrusted without for a joy ride without the permission of the owner.
- A person who holds Power of Attorney for a disabled relative takes money from that relative’s bank account and uses it for their own purposes.
- A trustee who is not a beneficiary of the trust they are in charge of takes money from it, or loans themselves money, without the permission of the beneficiary of the trust.
These are only a few examples. Whatever the specifics are of your case, you can trust Simmons Wagner, LLP to help you.
Charges of and Penalties for Embezzlement
Potential penalties for an embezzlement conviction can include time in prison, large fines, counseling, and restitution to the victims.
- A first embezzlement offense involving money or goods worth less than $950 is punishable with community service, informal probation, and a small fine.
- A second embezzlement offense can be charged as a felony with punishments of up to one year in county jail or three years in prison.
- If the value of the money or goods stolen exceeded $950 then it is a wobbler and can be charged as a felony or grand theft. The penalties can include up to 16 months in prison, fines, probation or parole, court-ordered counseling, and restitution.
As is true of most criminal convictions, the specific consequences a person will face will depend on the specifics of the crime and their criminal history, amongst other factors.
There Are Defense Options to Charges of Embezzlement
The right defense for your case will depend on the specifics of your case. Remember that all we have to do is show that one element of the prosecution’s case has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This could include showing:
- You had a lack of intent to steal anything
- You had a good faith belief that what you took was yours
- The facts used against you are inaccurate or false
In the event that there is a strong case against you, we can still argue for a more lenient sentence via a plea deal. You can count on Simmons Wagner, LLP to argue aggressively for the best possible outcome.