Embezzlement is regularly portrayed in movies and TV as a strictly white-collar crime, but this type of theft can happen at any level of employment. The main criteria are that someone was given access to property or money and that they illegally used it for their benefit. In some cases, you may be falsely blamed for embezzlement when you have access, and someone else wants to cover up their crimes.
Regardless of the circumstances, if you find yourself facing a charge of employee theft, you must protect your rights by contacting a Burbank embezzlement lawyer. Embezzlement can happen in many different situations, and sorting out your legal jeopardy takes experienced guidance. If you are a victim of another person trying to shift responsibility to you, contact the Simmrin Law Group today.
What Is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is also referred to as employee theft, larceny, and misappropriation. Most cases involve someone who was tempted by their control over large sums of money and reasoned that taking some of it would go unnoticed. It may happen at the executive level, or it may be simpler, such as a worker using company equipment outside of normal work hours to start their own business and profit.
Embezzlement is different from grand theft or simple theft in that the person who took the money or property was granted access to it. If one person with access is charged, anyone who was entrusted with the assets may come under suspicion. You could be at risk when you have done nothing wrong, and you need legal guidance to clear your name.
For a free legal consultation with a embezzlement lawyer serving Burbank, call (310) 896-2723
Defending Against an Embezzlement Charge
It will be critical to provide evidence to the court showing that you can explain or justify any actions you took. Demonstrating that you were misled by another person, misinformed as to the nature of a transaction, or any other reason that will excuse how you behaved can work in your favor. The court may agree to reduce or dismiss the charges.
You and your attorney will devise an approach for your case depending on how severe the accusations are. You may choose one or a combination of several defenses:
- Someone else took the property and has tried to make you appear guilty
- You were told you had a right to use the money or property
- You were informed you legally owned the property
- You did not intend to steal money or assets
- You did not realize you took the property
- You are being falsely accused
In addition to showing how you are not guilty, your attorney must prepare to rebut arguments from the prosecution concerning your liability for the crime. The prosecutor must prove all four elements of an embezzlement case:
- The property owner entrusted you with the assets.
- The property owner trusted you.
- You used the property for your benefit.
- You took the property with the intention of depriving its original owner of its use.
Burbank Embezzlement Lawyer Near Me (310) 896-2723
Penalties for an Embezzlement Conviction in Burbank
Embezzlement can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony in California. The type of property taken and its value determine which way the charge will go. Any criminal record you already have will also be taken into consideration.
Penalties vary according to the type of charge.
- Misdemeanor: When the property value is under $950, the maximum sentence is one year in county jail and up to $1000 in fines.
- Felony: If the property value is over $950, or the crime involves a handgun or vehicle, you will face up to $10,000 in fines and three years in state prison. You must also pay restitution of the funds to the victim.
In addition to establishing or adding to your criminal record, being convicted of embezzlement can reduce your chances of finding a job in the future. You will also have issues applying for higher education, loans, or rental properties. Your best option is to hire an experienced embezzlement lawyer in Burbank as soon as possible to reduce your risk of conviction.
Special Penalties in Embezzlement Cases
California Penal Code §186.11 describes additional special penalties that can be levied in embezzlement cases. There is a white-collar crime enhancement for theft of over $100,000 in assets or money. Other factors include:
- Public servants: If you are convicted of embezzlement while entrusted with public funds, you will be barred from working in state or local government again.
- Elder theft: Stealing from anyone elderly who trusted you with their money is an aggravating circumstance.
- Multiple counts: Penalties rise if you are convicted of stealing from more than one individual.
- Prior theft or fraud convictions: A history of embezzling in a position of trust brings higher fines and more jail time.
- Over $100,000 stolen: Fines are equal to $100,000 or twice the amount embezzled.
- Over $500,000 stolen: Fines are set at $500,000 or twice the amount taken.
In addition to paying fines, you will likely be required to reimburse the embezzled monies and perhaps pay the victim’s court costs. The California courts are empowered to seize your personal assets to pay reimbursements and fines. Facing these steep monetary penalties is worrying enough, but you could also be sentenced to up to five additional years of prison with the white-collar enhancements.
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Contact a Burbank Embezzlement Attorney Today
Any embezzlement charge is extremely serious and can have lifelong consequences. It is in your best interest to hire an attorney who understands the complexity of these cases. Finding out who is really to blame with the guidance of an expert embezzlement attorney in Burbank can mitigate the penalties you might face.
The Simmrin Law Group stands ready to discuss your options and create a plan to achieve the best legal outcome for you. Schedule a free consultation using our online contact form today.
Call or text (310) 896-2723 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form