We’ve all read about Bernie Madoff, who in 2008 was found guilty of a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, a complex form of embezzlement. You might have been left wondering though, what exactly is embezzlement and how do embezzlement charges come about?
What is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is defined as a crime that takes place when a person purposefully withholds or uses assets and/or money for a purpose other than for what it was intended. Basically, embezzlement takes place when said person takes or uses a company’s or agency’s money without consent. It is also called financial fraud and is considered a white collar crime. If you’re facing embezzlement charges, you will need an experienced Tempe white collar crimes attorney in your corner helping you with your defense.
Embezzlement can occur in a variety of circumstances, but is most common in the employment and corporate fields. An example would be a bank teller that has legal access to a client’s money, and is trusted to engage in transactions involving that money, simply taking or using that money for personal reasons. Another example is a board member of a large corporation who is entrusted with client or company funds, misappropriating small or large amounts over a long period of time. The methods used to embezzle can vary greatly and are often very creative. They can include fraudulent billing, payroll checks to fabricated employees, records falsification, Ponzi financial schemes, and more.
Punishments for Embezzlement
The exact sentencing in an embezzlement case depends on the amount of money or property misused, and the defendant’s prior criminal records. When the person is convicted, penalties can include an order to pay back the victims plus interest, probation, jail time, community service, and fees. In Arizona, embezzlement is punished according to the value of the property or money stolen. On the lower end of that scale, if the value is less than $1,000 it’s a Class 1 misdemeanor and includes a fine up to $2,500 and up to six months in jail. On the higher end, if the value is $25,000 or more it’s a Class 2 felony, with penalties can be up to five years in jail.
Tempe White Collar Crime Attorney, Kyle T. Green
If you have been charged with a white collar crime or you know you are under investigation for fraud, embezzlement or another crime, now is the time to arm yourself and prepare a solid defense strategy. In some instances, I have even been able to help avoid formal charges or negotiate resolutions before formal charges are brought, all while fighting for your rights and reputation. Call me at 480-331-7568 and let’s get started with a free case review today.
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