Embezzlement Against an Estate
Although most people are at least somewhat familiar with the crime of embezzlement against an employer, many don’t know that it is also possible to be charged with and convicted of embezzling against an estate. Being convicted of this offense can have serious consequences, including jail time, fines, and the creation of a permanent criminal record, which can make it difficult to find employment or secure housing, so it is critical for those who have been accused of embezzlement against an estate to contact a white collar crime attorney who can ensure that their rights and interests are protected.
Defining Embezzlement Against an Estate
Embezzling against an estate covers multiple types of conduct, including both:
- Embezzling, transferring, or spending actual physical property or assets; and
- Destroying or hiding any document that belongs to someone’s estate.
In both situations, a defendant can only be prosecuted under this statute if prosecutors can prove that the property or documents belonged to someone else’s estate and were in the accused’s possession because of that individual’s status as a trustee, custodian, or officer of the court. Essentially, this law covers anyone who is in a position to access the property or documents of an estate because of his or her participation in the administration of the estate in an official capacity. The includes employees and agents of these individuals.
Defendants who are charged with embezzling against an estate face serious consequences if convicted, including hefty fines and up to five years imprisonment.
Embezzling against an estate is also unlawful under Florida law, which categorizes these types of crimes as either petit theft or grand theft based on the value of the property taken. Generally, stealing property valued at less than $300 is considered petit theft and so is charged as a misdemeanor, while taking assets that are valued at over $300 can result in a felony charge of grand theft.
In Florida embezzlement cases, the state is not required to prove that a defendant took the estate’s property without consent in order to obtain a conviction, as entrustment in bankruptcy cases usually occurs voluntarily. Instead, prosecutors need to prove that a defendant later intentionally used, spent, or took the property or destroyed related documentation. The penalties for a conviction under state law are also severe, so it is important for defendants to raise a strong defense to these types of charges. For instance, a defendant could argue that he or she had a good faith belief in a right to the property or that the property owner gave consent (beyond the original consent required to entrust the asset to the defendant) to the accused.
Contact Our White Collar Crime Legal Team Today
If you are being investigated for embezzlement against an estate, you need the advice of an experienced white collar crime lawyer who can evaluate your case and start working on your defense. Please call Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Criminal Defense Attorneys at 305-670-9919 to learn more about your legal rights and options. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge.