Embezzlement charges are especially serious since both state and federal prosecutors can charge you and you could face misdemeanor and felony charges, depending on the specific circumstances and amount of money allegedly embezzled. If you are facing embezzlement charges on either level, then you will need to understand some things about the charges, potential penalties and possible defense stances you can take to defend yourself.
The first and probably most important thing to understand is that just because you are charged with embezzlement does not mean you will definitely receive a jail sentence if convicted. This is because prosecutors trying embezzlement cases are more worried about recovering the money allegedly embezzled – restitution – than getting you sentenced to a jail term.
On the other hand, if the prosecutor convicts you of embezzlement and the court orders you to pay restitution, it doesn’t mean that you won’t also be sentenced to serve jail time. In other words, you could face restitution, jail time, or both, which is why you must defend yourself against the charges instead of automatically taking a plea deal or agreeing to plead guilty for any reason.
Charges and Penalties if Convicted
If you are charged with embezzlement, you could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and, depending on the circumstances of the charges, you could face extra charges, though the penalties for all embezzlement charges are harsh if convicted. Specifically, if the amount of money allegedly embezzled totals $950 or more, you could be charged with grand theft embezzlement, and if the amount of money allegedly embezzled totals $949 or less, you could be charged with petty embezzlement.
- If convicted of grand theft embezzlement as a misdemeanor, depending on your prior record and current situation you could be assessed a one-year jail sentence and $1,000 in fines.
- If convicted of grand theft embezzlement as a felony, depending on your prior record, you could face a 16-month jail sentence, or a two to three year prison sentence in addition to $10,000 in fines.
- If convicted of petty theft embezzlement you could face a 6-month jail sentence in addition to paying up to $1,000 in fines.
- If convicted of petty theft embezzlement but didn’t embezzle more than $50, then charges could be dropped in favor of payment of a $250 fine.
- If more than $950 is embezzled, but in smaller amounts over the course of a year, then prosecutors could add the amounts to tally more than $950 to fore a grand theft embezzlement charge.
- If charged with embezzlement, but of an amount totaling $6,500 or more, you will face aggravated embezzlement charges and can face an extra year in prison if convicted.
- If you embezzled money totaling any amount, but embezzled from a senior or from a minor, or a dependant, then you could face additional charges and penalties if convicted.
Once you are charged with embezzlement of any type, the prosecutor must prove you are guilty and to do this he or she must prove one of three things. These include:
- Proving that you knew the victim, and that the victim and you trusted one another
- The victim eventually entrusted you to care for money, property or other item now in your possession
- Proving you intended to victimize and embezzle the money or property from the person who allegedly entrusted the money or property to you
People from all walks of life can be accused of and charged with embezzlement, and the sad fact is that many charged with embezzlement don’t even know they’ve done anything wrong.
Because embezzlement is a white-collar crime that often has intentional victims and unintentional criminals who were coerced into committing crimes they knew nothing about, those truly responsible for the crimes committed often hold positions of power within an organization. Usually, this responsible party is guilty of transferring funds to another party or misappropriates funds for personal gain for which he or she is not entitled, while the funds were supposed to be used for something else.
Because of the nature of embezzlement is a non-violent crime, the prescribed penalties according to California law of jail time may not fit, especially if the person charged had no knowledge he or she was committing a crime. For instance, a secretary who was following orders to transfer funds from one account to another, while having nothing to do with the actual accounts or money being transferred obviously doesn’t deserve jail time for her actions.
This is why you have to act quickly if you are charged with any type of embezzlement charges. It is crucial that you can defend yourself and your innocence to the courts on any level so that you are not charged with a crime you knew nothing about, or facing a sentence that does not fit the conviction.
To fight an embezzlement charge on any level, regardless of the circumstances under which prosecutors have accused you of, you need an experienced Ventura embezzlement lawyer to navigate the federal and state level courts while tirelessly defending your rights to a fair trial and rights to face your accusers.
Contact me today and let me review your case particulars in confidence. From there, I will assess the seriousness of the charges, inform you of potential penalties, and advise you of the best way we can work together to defend you against the charges, evidence, and potential sentencing.
I am that attorney and you will get the full power of my 20 plus years of experience challenging cases on both the state and federal level.
The serious nature of embezzlement charges against you means you need a serious attorney, and as soon as possible. If you hire me, you can rest easier knowing that I will fight for your freedom and your future while challenging the charges against you with the utmost of dedication.