The basics of embezzlement

Posted on by criminallaw

Embezzlement is a complicated matter.  Being entrusted with the financial aspects of a business can open the door to many possible accusations claiming financial abuse by a business owner against an employee.

With the help of an experienced embezzlement lawyer, a defendant has many possible avenues to have a case dropped or charges lessened.  This is especially true where many people may have access to a business’s money and/or there is not a clear path to a single bank account where the missing money may have been deposited.

In addition, embezzlement may either be a misdemeanor or a felony.  At a trial, the judge will pay particular attention to the value of the amount that was taken and that will tend to influence how much of a punishment to dole out.  Cases involving $400 or less are generally treated as misdemeanors.  Anything over that amount is probably going to be charged as a felony.

In cases of embezzlement, fraudulent intent must be proven.  This means that a defendant had the intent to take funds or property without the consent of the owner and convert them in a way that is inconsistent with what the owner wanted.  For example, a stockbroker who skims money off the top of a brokerage account to use for their own gain would be consistent with fraudulent intent.  If a person takes another’s property but believes they have the right to use and convert that property, and they can prove it, they will not be proven guilty of embezzlement.

It’s important to remember that the primary motivation for a victim is to get their money back.  This may leave the door open to offer restitution to make the victim whole again, and that could lead to a reduced sentence if convicted of an embezzlement charge. In some cases, jail time may be avoided altogether.

Dwane Cates Law Group proudly serves the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities.