Embezzlement is a type of white-collar crime that can result in serious penalties. Embezzlement occurs when a person who has access to the money or property of another takes it without any intention of repaying it to the rightful owner. People who are convicted of embezzlement may face penalties including incarceration, restitution, fines and other consequences.
This crime most commonly occurs within corporations and employment settings. In many cases, people who commit embezzlement are trusted employees who may have worked in their jobs for years. They might include bank tellers, accountants, bookkeepers and others who have access to their employer’s accounts and money.
Embezzlement includes the taking of property in addition to the conversion of funds. Stealing assets of a company such as computers or vehicles is also considered to be embezzlement. In general, prosecutors must be able to prove that the embezzler had a fiduciary relationship with the victim and used that relationship in order to steal the money or property. The alleged embezzler must have taken the property or given it to another and must have had the intent to permanently deprive the company or victim of the funds or property.
It is common for people who embezzle money to initially have the intent to repay it in the future. However, people may find that they are unable to repay what has been taken, and they may continue to access their employer’s accounts and take increasing amounts of funds. People who are facing charges of embezzlement may want to talk to experienced criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible. Embezzlement and other white-collar crimes frequently involve volumes of paperwork, and the evidence can seem overwhelming. Attorneys may organize the evidence that the state is using and identify flaws in their cases. An attorney may be able to secure favorable plea offers for their clients or win dismissals of the charges.