Embezzlement is the theft, misuse or misappropriation of funds belonging to another person and/or funds placed in your trust. Penalties for embezzlement in Tempe and other nearby cities can be awfully harsh, and have the potential to wreak havoc on your record.
As a criminal defense attorney who represents client with “white collar” criminal charges including embezzlement, I’ve taken the time to answer 5 of the most commonly asked questions about embezzlement. While it is important to realize that each case is unique and comes with a different set of circumstances, hopefully these answers offer some general insight into embezzlement law and some support to those facing the confusion, fear, and stress that comes with such charges.
What types of behaviors or actions qualify for a criminal embezzlement charge?
You can be charged with embezzlement for something as simple as misusing a company credit card to stealing money or goods from your place of employment. Making fraudulent payments to professional vendors and other counterfeit financial practices can also lead to an embezzlement accusation. If you have legal authority to access and even use funds, but don’t actually own those funds, and are found to have mismanaged, dishonestly spent, or stolen any of that money, you’re at a high risk for embezzlement charges.
What if I didn’t realize the boundaries or limitations of my use of or access to company funds?
I have encountered accidental or unintentional embezzlement many times in my practice. Business owners, estate managers, employees and even family members can be charged with embezzlement without even realizing they’ve done anything wrong. If the conditions of the use and management of funds is not clearly communicated and understood by all parties, it can be difficult to navigate where the line is between approved use and criminal behavior.
Over the years I have spent getting to know and support members of the Tempe and surrounding community. I have seen many cases of embezzlement that resulted from seemingly simple misunderstandings. However, when you’re dealing with people’s money, the legalities can get very serious very quickly. If you are involved in any way with the financials of a business, estate or other set of funds, always go above and beyond to ensure clear policies and understanding of appropriate use of those funds.
What are the penalties or potential punishments for embezzlement?
First of all, it is not uncommon for embezzlement charges to happen after long periods of investigation and record keeping on the part of the accuser. Oftentimes, by the time the defendant is even aware of any embezzlement accusations or charges, the overall amount of money could has been building and building.
In Arizona, the punishment for embezzlement is directly linked to the amount of money taken or involved. Even for embezzlement charges for property or funds valued at less than $1,000, which counts as a misdemeanor, you can be fined $2,500 and spend up to 6 months in jail. The cost and penalties only get worse from there. Anything over $1,000 is charged as a felony and carries disastrous consequences with it.
Why should I consult an attorney if I have been accused of embezzlement?
As the source of legal counsel and representation for hundreds of people over the years, I have seen time and again what an intimidating and impossible battle any criminal charge can be, especially to those that don’t fully understand what they’re being charged with and why. I find that to be true with embezzlement cases, in particular. A far as the court or government end of things are concerned, it can be difficult to prove that funds were taken or used without permission, and even if the case results in a conviction, there are some alternative ways to handle the punishment that people wouldn’t consider without legal insight.
My goal is to develop a deep and clear understanding of where my clients are coming from and how they got into the situation they’re in. All too often people are accused of and even charged with crimes that they unknowingly committed, committed in a much lesser fashion that charged, or didn’t even commit in the first place. Each person I meet with deserves for their rights to be protected and to have an advocate as they confront the legal battles they face.
Arizona Embezzlement Attorney Kyle T. Green
If you have been charged with embezzlement or are currently under investigation for a white collar crime, give me a call for a free consultation. During the consultation I will be able to answer all your questions about how the law will apply to the specific aspects of your case. I look forward to speaking and working with you.
Call 480-331-7568 today.Back to Blogs