Behaviors That Are Considered to Be Embezzlement
Whenever an individual steals property or money from a business partner, another person, or their employer, it’s possible for this theft to be considered embezzlement. To understand how widespread embezzlement is, employee theft results in businesses losing upwards of $50 billion per year. There are many different actions and behaviors that could constitute embezzlement, which you should be aware of if you’ve been charged with this crime.
Examples of Embezzlement
Before detailing the many different examples of embezzlement, keep in mind that this crime differs from larceny or fraud. In order for embezzlement to occur, the embezzler must have permission to directly handle the property or assets that they misused. Embezzlement only happens when the individual takes the property. The most common forms of embezzlement can be separated into two categories – employee embezzlement and property embezzlement. The main examples of employee embezzlement include:
- Taking money from a cash register
- Taking kickbacks or bribes
- Altering the time records for employees
- Charging more for a product and taking the difference
- Changing the books to hide stolen money or losses
- Taking office supplies to your home
- Placing vendor checks into your personal bank account
Property embezzlement occurs when you have been trusted with someone else’s property, which is usually money. The main difference between property embezzlement and employee embezzlement is that the owner of the property generally isn’t a company. Examples of property embezzlement include:
- Using your relative’s Social Security payment
- Selling property of an estate and pocketing the proceeds without taking its heirs and beneficiaries into account
Penalties Associated With Embezzlement
Since most embezzlement cases are state charges, the penalties associated with the charge will differ depending on the state where the activity took place. In New Jersey, the penalties attributed to embezzlement depend on the amount of money or property value that was taken. In the event that the value is lower than $200, the crime could result in as many as six months in jail and fines that reach as high as $1,000.
For property valued between $200 and $500, it’s considered to be a fourth-degree crime, which results in 18 months of jail time and up to $10,000 in fines. If the value is higher than $500 but lower than $75,000, the crime would be a third-degree offense, which results in three to five years of jail time and as much as $15,000 in fines. If the property that is embezzled amounts to more than $75,000, you could be charged with a second-degree offense, which can come with jail time of five to 10 years and as much as $150,000 in fines.
How Our Morristown Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Build Your Case
Our Morristown criminal defense lawyer has the experience and knowledge necessary to assist you in challenging the allegations. If you’ve been charged with embezzlement, there are three defenses that are commonly used in these situations. The possible defenses that could be used with your case include entrapment, duress, or a lack of intent. There are also four things that the prosecution needs to prove in order for embezzlement charges to stick, which include:
- The defendant must be aware that taking the money would be a crime.
- The defendant must be aware that they aren’t allowed to use the money.
- The defendant must intend to steal money from the owner or company.
- The owner or company must give the defendant control over the money in question.
If all four of these things can’t be proven, it’s possible that the offense would be classified as theft or larceny. It’s also possible that the defendant was unaware that they weren’t supposed to use the money or property that they were put in charge of. In almost all situations, embezzlement is a complex issue that requires a strong legal defense to ensure that penalties are minimized or avoided altogether.
When you contact our Morristown criminal defense lawyers, we can assist you in building a strong case that takes every possible strategy into account. Call us today at (973} 898-0161 to get started.