What To Know About Embezzlement Charges

Businessman committing embezzlement charges.

Embezzlement is a theft that occurs when a person uses a position of trust or duty to take money or property. Embezzlement charges can be a state or a federal crime, and the consequences of an embezzlement conviction can be severe.

If you are under investigation or have been charged with embezzlement, you need experienced and knowledgeable legal representation. North Carolina criminal defense attorney Ryan Stowe defends people accused of embezzlement in state and federal court. He will carefully analyze your situation and mount an aggressive legal defense.

What Is Embezzlement?

The crime of embezzlement occurs when a person takes money, funds, or other property from an employer, a client, or someone else who has placed their trust in you. People charged with embezzlement are accused of taking advantage of their relationship with the owner of assets or property and using that relationship to gain access to the property and use it for their own purposes.

Embezzlement often occurs over a period of time, as opposed to a single incident. In many cases, a person charged with embezzlement is accused of taking small amounts of money over months or even years.

Examples of embezzlement include:

  • Writing false checks from a business to yourself and cashing them;
  • Overcharging customers and taking the excess fees;
  • Using company property or resources for personal gain;
  • Creating false employees and issuing paychecks to yourself;
  • Stealing company property; or
  • Stealing money from the cash register.

North Carolina Embezzlement Charges

The severity of punishments for North Carolina embezzlement charges depend on the amount of money a person is accused of taking.

  • If the stolen property is valued at more than $100,000, you will be charged with a Class C felony, punishable by up to 231 months in prison.
  • If the value of the stolen property is less than $100,000, the crime will be charged as a Class H felony, which carries a maximum punishment of 39 months in prison.
  • Public employees charged with embezzling property valued at less than $100,000 will be charged with a Class F felony, which has a maximum punishment of 59 months in prison.

Federal Embezzlement Charges

Embezzlement charges can also be filed in federal court. Whether you are charged in state or federal court will depend on the amount of money you are alleged to have stolen, whether you allegedly took money from the federal government, and whether you acted across state lines.

Just like state charges, the severity of federal embezzlement charges will depend on the value of the money or property that was allegedly stolen. If you are charged in federal court with stealing more than $1,000, you face a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. If you are charged in federal court with stealing property valued at less than $1,000, you face fines of up to $100,000 and up to one year in prison.

Larceny vs. Embezzlement

Theft crimes like embezzlement and larceny are similar. But while both crimes involve the theft of money or assets, cases of embezzlement involve situations in which the defendant was entrusted with money or assets.

To prove a case of embezzlement, the prosecution must demonstrate that the defendant:

  1. Had a fiduciary relationship with the victim;
  2. Obtained money or property through this relationship;
  3. Acted intentionally; and
  4. Took the property or gave it to someone else.

People who often act in a fiduciary capacity include:

  • Accountants
  • Lawyers
  • Financial advisors
  • Corporate officers
  • Employees
  • Officers of a charitable organization
  • Public or government officials
  • Family members who were entrusted to care for another person or handle their estate.

The Stowe Law Firm: Serious Representation for Embezzlement Charges.

If you are under investigation or have been charged with embezzlement, you need an experienced and trusted attorney on your side. The outcome of your case could have serious consequences, including fines, prison time, and difficulty finding future employment.

Based in Salisbury, North Carolina, The Stowe Law Firm represents people charged with embezzling money in Rowan County, Mecklenburg County, Davidson County, Cabarrus County, and Stanly County.

To learn more, contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.

Categories: Theft Crimes