Embezzlement is a "white collar" crime which refers to an employee, a member or the trustee of an organization or company stealing money for personal use. Embezzlement is a serious crime which has serious consequences and an impact on a person's job, career and personal life. The primary difference between embezzlement and other types of thefts is that the property that is stolen is legally possessed or accessed by the person doing the embezzling. Such possession or access of the money or property is usually part of the person's job responsibilities.
California Penal Code
California Penal Code Section 503 states: "Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to who it has been entrusted." The charges faced by someone accused of embezzlement largely depend on the value of the property stolen and/or the criminal record of the defendant. Embezzlement may be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, which is the more serious charge.
Penalties Relating to Embezzlement
The consequences of embezzling funds usually involves significant consequences including jail or prison time, hefty fines, counseling and restitution that must be paid to the victims. Here is a glance at some of the potential penalties in embezzlement cases:
- A first-time embezzlement offense involving less than $400 is punishable by a small fine, community service and informal probation.
- A second offense can be charged as a felony theft. It is punishable by up to one year in county jail or up to three years in state prison.
- When the value of the money or property stolen is more than $400, it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony grand theft. Consequences include up to 16 months in state prison, fines, restitution, probation or parole and court-ordered counseling.
Defending Embezzlement Charges
An embezzlement case is very different from a theft or shoplifting case. Even an allegation of embezzlement can leave you with a tarnished reputation. It will be extremely challenging for you to regain that trust again. It may even be difficult to get a job or regain your ability to make a livelihood after an embezzlement conviction.
Experienced white collar crime defense lawyer Daniel E. Kann has the skill and resources it takes to work these challenging cases. Our goal is to protect your reputation and your future and keep you out of jail. If you or a loved one is facing embezzlement charges, please contact our offices to schedule a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.