Embezzlement is a serious white-collar offense that can lead to severe criminal penalties. When someone is accused of committing embezzlement, here’s how the case may go.
What is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is a specific type of white-collar theft crime. Embezzlement occurs when an employee steals from their employer. This could be money, property, or anything the employee takes without authorization.
Common examples include:
- Siphoning: This is one of the simplest types of embezzlement. In siphoning cases, an employee takes small amounts of money out of the cash drawer of their workplace. This typically occurs over a period of time. Eventually, someone may catch on to the balances consistently being lower than they should be. This could lead to a further investigation of the employees.
- Computer Hacks: Some individuals may hack into their employer’s computer network or install hidden software that allows for money to be transferred to their accounts without being detected.
- Altered Documents: If an employee altered any company documents or transaction memos that allowed them to make a personal profit, they could be charged with embezzlement.
- Misuse of Credit Card: Some companies give their employees credit cards for company expenses. Using those cards for personal purchases is considered embezzlement.
These are just a few examples - embezzlement can happen in dozens of different ways. It’s also important to note that embezzlement doesn’t only involve money; stealing property like technology from your employer is also embezzlement.
How Do Employers Prove Embezzlement?
If your employer has recently contacted you about suspicious activity regarding company funds and assets, you may be wondering if they are accusing you of committing embezzlement. If they are trying to build a case against you, what can they present as evidence?
Your employer may collect evidence such as:
- Forged documents
- Forged checks
- Credit card statements
- Surveillance footage
- Bank records
Any documentation that connects the employee to questionable activity can be used.
Components of Embezzlement
While this tangible evidence will be important for the case, there are also key components of the crime that must be present that go beyond forged documents.
For a crime to be considered embezzlement, the employee must have a fiduciary obligation to the employer. This means the employee was trusted to handle company funds and property, and the embezzlement offense violated that trust.
Additionally, the employee must have claimed ownership of the stolen property or money for it to be embezzlement.
Finally, the employee must have had intent to steal. In other words, simple, innocent mistakes like using the wrong credit card once will not be enough to warrant embezzlement charges.
If all of these components are present, the employee in question may be convicted of embezzlement.
Penalties for Embezzlement
An embezzlement conviction has severe consequences. Suspected individuals face numerous years in prison, expensive fines, and repayment of all of the stolen funds.
Additionally, an embezzlement conviction can make it extremely difficult to obtain future employment. With that type of conviction on your record, future employers may be hesitant to hire you because they believe you will commit the same offenses again.
The best way to avoid a conviction and potential penalties for embezzlement is to work with an experienced defense attorney. You may be able to suppress evidence, challenge the legality of the investigation, or use other defense strategies that can ultimately lead to a positive outcome.
Embezzlement Defense in Miami, Florida
If your employer has recently filed embezzlement charges against you, you need to take immediate action. Whether the accusations against you are false or not, you will need to work with a defense attorney to ensure you have the best legal protection possible. At Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., we have helped our clients receive favorable outcomes for a number of white-collar offenses. To get started with our team, click here or call us at (305) 985-6640. The sooner you get started on your defense, the better.