Embezzlement charges can have significant effects on your professional reputation and your freedom, as a conviction could result in harsh financial penalties and even jail time.
If you are facing state or federal embezzlement charges, you may need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A Bloomington embezzlement lawyer could clarify any issues and help you understand your charges, determine how to best move forward, and craft an aggressive defense.
What is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is a white-collar theft offense involving financial fraud. It occurs when a person entrusted with someone’s else property misappropriates it, often for their own gain. The abuse of this position of trust is one of the key characterizations of embezzlement, as the person who committed this crime once had lawful authority over the stolen property.
Elements of Embezzlement Charges
To convict someone of embezzlement, prosecutors need to prove the following:
- The defendant was in a trusted position to care for another person’s money or personal property
- The defendant took, converted, or hid that property for their own personal use without the owner’s permission
- The defendant intended to take the property away from the owner permanently
A skilled embezzlement lawyer could investigate an individual’s specific charges and mount a strong defense to counter the prosecution’s argument.
Types of Embezzlement
Frequently, embezzlement involves an employee who has access to their client’s financial funds and borrows or skims some money for themselves. Often, embezzlement charges include the following situations:
- Caregivers who take money from their charge
- Attorneys or financial advisors who take money from their clients
- Retail managers who do not register sales and pocket the cash
- Bank tellers who remove money from their cash drawer for themselves
- Employees who make up false bills and pose as counterfeit vendors
- People who create elaborate Ponzi schemes to defraud their investors
Embezzlement can involve only one employee regularly pocketing small amounts of money or millions of dollars and complicated schemes run by multiple people. A local attorney with experience handling different types of cases could achieve satisfactory results.
What Are The Potential Penalties of a Conviction?
The penalties for committing embezzlement vary according to the value of the stolen property.
Crimes Involving Public Funds
If the crime involves the theft of public funds, Minnesota Statutes Section 609.54 sets forth specific punishments. Generally, people face a maximum of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine if the theft involves less than $2,500. In crimes involving greater than $2,500, a court could impose a $20,000 fine and/or a ten-year prison sentence.
Crimes Involving Private Funds or Property
In crimes involving private property, there is no specific state embezzlement statute. Instead, prosecutors may charge defendants under Minnesota Statutes Section 609.52, which addresses general larceny or theft. The amount stolen, in addition to other factors, determine the severity of the punishment.
Federal Embezzlement Crimes
If the alleged crime involves the theft of government property, securities, or the crossing of state lines, federal law applies. The penalties for the federal crime of embezzlement vary as set forth in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 31.
Embezzlement convictions come with serious punishments, and the consequences can be long-lasting. A skilled local attorney could explain the charges and work to help the defendant avoid the most severe penalties.
Call a Bloomington Embezzlement Attorney Today
If you are facing embezzlement charges, you should enlist the assistance of a legal professional who could help you build a comprehensive defense and mitigate the potential penalties. A Bloomington embezzlement lawyer could fight for your rights and prevent you from having a permanent criminal record. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.