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Is Embezzlement a Felony or Federal Crime?

June 25, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

The question of embezzlement is a tough one because there are different types of crimes that can have different options for being prosecuted. The majority of embezzlement takes place in small to medium-sized businesses with these usually being subject to state laws and the sentencing rules of that region. In contrast, any form of embezzlement where money intended for the federal government or provided to another party by the government is intercepted by an individual for their ends. An interesting fact about embezzlement is the most likely person to take part in this crime is a single woman in her 40s with no prior criminal record who works in an accounts department.

What is Embezzlement?

Embezzlement is a crime where an individual diverts some form of money or property they do not own to their funds. Often referred to as a kind of fraud, the money or property that is stolen cannot be owned by the individual taking it in any way. However, the person who is charged with the crime of embezzlement can have transferred the property on to another person in an action known as conveyance. A good example of embezzlement seen in everyday life is the removal of cash from a bar or products from a retail store by a member of staff. One of the most difficult aspects of embezzlement to prove is that of the person intending to steal from their employer.

What is Federal Embezzlement?

There is a major difference between the different types of embezzlement, including the usual state-level felony or misdemeanor that takes place and a federal form of embezzlement. For a federal court to become involved in the case, there must be some form of loss relating to the funds provided by the U.S. Federal Government to its employees or through a contract with an outside agency. If a federal embezzlement case is brought because of missing funds from the U.S. Government the case will be passed to one of the 94 federal courts across the nation.

Embezzlement from a Financial Institution

A federal crime has been committed when any bank employee or member of the Federal Reserve steals money that is being used by a bank, credit union, or lending body under the Federal Reserve Act. The Minimum Sentencing Guidelines produced by the Federal Court System explains a person found guilty of embezzling more than $1,000 from a bank operating under the Federal Reserve Act is up to 30 years in jail and a fine of up to $1 million.

Court Officers

Another aspect of federal crimes that will result in the individual being tried in a Federal Court is the theft of funds by a court officer. Any court officer who is suspected of embezzling more than $1,000 is liable to be tried in a Federal Court with a fine of at least $250,000 or double the amount embezzled being levied on them. The Court Officer will also be at risk of spending up to 10 years in Federal jail if found guilty.

Other Areas of Federal Embezzlement

There are many areas of embezzlement that can result in an individual being tried by a Federal Court in the U.S. One of the laws regarding federal embezzlement is the use of or resale of a property held by a farm credit agency or used as security against a loan for a farming professional. Any form of embezzlement in this area results in the individual being given a jail term of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000 depending on the amount of money embezzled.

Among the property that is protected by federal law in the U.S. is the theft of livestock and the theft of major artworks. The protection of major artworks means that any person who is found guilty of obtaining a piece of art using fraudulent purposes will be given a jail term of up to ten years and a fine of up to $250,000 if the artwork is over 100 years old and reaches a certain value.

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