Embezzling Government Funds
While all embezzlement accusations should be taken seriously, those that involve government funds should be given particular weight, as conviction comes with severe repercussions, including jail time, fines, and restitution. These penalties can feel especially daunting for those who are unfairly accused of embezzling government funds, making it particularly important for those who are being investigated for embezzlement, to contact a white collar crime attorney who can help them begin building a strong defense.
What Conduct Qualifies as Embezzlement?
Embezzling from the government is defined as the unlawful misappropriation of money or any property of value belonging to the U.S. However, what qualifies as the misuse or theft of public, or government funds varies depending on the statute in question. For instance, one federal law states that all government employees are prohibited from receiving money that they are not authorized to receive or failing to report it. Similarly, 18 U.S.C. § 644 bars those who are not authorized depositories of public money to receive those funds, or to use, transfer, convert, or apply those funds for any purpose. Even failing to deposit government funds when required to do so can result in a conviction for embezzlement, as can loaning or exchanging public funds without approval. Other conduct that qualifies as embezzling government funds includes:
- Falsely certifying full payment of a government obligation;
- Misusing government funds by withdrawing, depositing, or transferring funds without authority;
- Wrongfully converting government property received during the course of employment as a government worker; and
- Failing to keep deposited funds safe through negligence.
What Penalties do I Face if Convicted?
The severity of the penalties assessed against a defendant for violating these laws depends in large part on the value of the property in question. For instance, if the assets were worth $100 or less, the defendant could spend up to a year in prison, while embezzling property that exceeds $100 in value could mean up to ten years imprisonment and a fine equal to the amount of the property taken, although fines are never allowed to exceed twice the amount that was allegedly embezzled.
What jail time and fines a defendant faces doesn’t only depend upon the law under which he or she is charged, but also whether he or she is charged with any other offenses, as it is not uncommon for those who are accused of embezzling government funds to be charged with additional crimes, such as continuing a criminal enterprise. Because of the differences in these penalties, it is important for defendants who have been accused of embezzlement, to speak with an attorney who is well-versed in this area of the law.
Contact Our Legal Team Today for Help
To speak with dedicated Miami white collar crime lawyer Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. about raising a defense to your own pending embezzlement charges, please call 305-670-9919. You can also reach us by completing one of our brief online contact forms. Case evaluations are offered free of charge, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online today.