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Theft Crime: Fair Market Value of Loss

January 2, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

Fair market value of loss is a term that refers to the valuation of a market loss within a certain time frame and place. For example, the market value of loss might be estimated for a period of time in New York. Different places and time periods have different currency values. The market value of loss for a modern economy isn’t the same as one you’d find in the 1920s. Fair market value of loss refers to the current value and replacement value of a loss. Should a person be accused of stealing a million dollars, the market value would be one million dollars. To learn more about how fair market value of loss is determined, it’s important to talk to an embezzlement attorney.

Fair market value of loss doesn’t always apply to embezzlement cases. When a person embezzles something, they steal money rather than property. That currency value doesn’t fluctuate due to damage, destruction, or use. Dollars also have the same value across all companies and businesses throughout an area. When fair market value is assigned to embezzlement cases, it comes out to the exact dollar amount stolen. This valuation doesn’t tend to fluctuate based on market conditions.

Determining Loss in Embezzlement

When you’re dealing with embezzlement, you’re typically working with hard money stolen rather than physical property. Other thefts might include the theft of a car or home. When the thing stolen is a tangible piece of property, there’s more leeway when it comes to determining the market value. Since embezzlement deals with dollars, the market value doesn’t change. For this reason, fair market value is often not considered highly relevant to embezzlement cases.

Court Estimation Exclusions

The potential exclusions in cases will vary depending on the area and the circumstances of the case. In New York, courts don’t tend to have many exclusions. You have to pay back the full amount that you stole. Some people might try to strike a deal to pay back the amount they stole minus the amount of money they earned for the company. But most courts won’t accept this kind of deal. Even if you increased the overall company revenue and helped to lower corporate tax liabilities, you still owe the exact amount that you embezzled. When you’re accused of a larceny crime, it is distinctly separate from this kind of benefit analysis.

Employee Performance Impact

When you allegedly defraud a business or corporation, the position you hold within the company becomes relevant to your sentencing. Many companies have multiple corporate positions that handle different responsibilities within the business. The position you hold and the manner in which you completed the theft will affect the charges brought against you. If the theft is ongoing rather than a one-time occurrence, that also has a significant impact on the charges and sentencing.

Another thing the court looks at is the impact of the theft. There will be both direct and indirect impacts to examine regarding how individuals who worked at the company, and the company itself, were affected. It’s important to prepare to answer tough questions and to be transparent with your criminal defense attorney so they’ll be prepared to create a strong defense.

Any crime related to financial fraud might also have sentencing that is affected based on restitution. A person who takes responsibility for their actions and makes a plan to pay back the stolen money will typically receive lighter sentencing. In many cases, one of the biggest priorities is recovering the money that has been stolen. If you show that you are willing to help with this, the court tends to be more lenient. Both district attorneys and judges have a more favorable opinion of people who make significant or complete restitution as quickly as possible.

Calculating Property Value After Theft

Sometimes the theft was of physical property rather than cash. In these cases, different steps must be taken to determine the value of the stolen property. You’ll need to get an itemized list of everything that has been stolen. Once you have this, your first step is figuring out how much the property was worth prior to the theft.

According to the IRS, you can calculate your fair market value of loss by researching the fair market value of the property. Market value is the value at which you could theoretically sell the property to a buyer, provided all parties have all the facts. The easiest way to research this is by comparing the prices of similar objects or weighting the value based on the cost of similar items you own.

To value a stolen car, you can use a used car guide. These guides tell you the market value of any make and model of vehicle after a certain number of years or certain amount of mileage.

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