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Of all white-collar crimes, embezzlement is one that is usually the most common within the United States. Although there is actually no actual crime of embezzlement listed in federal law, prosecutors will use various statutes in these cases that relate to specific areas, including bank, securities, wire, and mail fraud, to gain convictions in these situations. If you find yourself being charged with embezzlement, the case will be complex but not without hope. Since there are many different elements that must be proven in court to show this specific crime took place, working with an experienced attorney can mean the difference between spending decades in prison or walking out of court after charges have been reduced or dismissed. Due to the numerous twists and turns these cases can take and the various sentences that can be handed down by courts, always rely on a skilled attorney to help you from start to finish.
Proving the Case
While many people believe simply taking money or property from another person, company, or organization constitutes embezzlement, there is much more needed to prove this crime occurred. Essentially, there are four major elements prosecutors must prove in court to demonstrate embezzlement took place. These include there being a position of trust between two parties, the defendant acquiring money or property while in that position of trust, the defendant taking said money or property for their own benefit, and the defendant doing so in an intentional and conscious manner.
Since Federal Sentencing Guidelines can be complex in cases of embezzlement, punishments are often geared toward just how much discretionary judgment a defendant had while in their position of trust. Under current sentencing guidelines, individuals who would be viewed as having had the ability to use discretionary judgment in their positions of trust would include lawyers who embezzled client funds, bank executives who create fraudulent loan schemes, or accountants who steal money while employed by a company.
While you may assume you had to be employed with a company or working in another capacity within an organization to be accused of embezzlement, that is not the case. For example, if you simply overhear a neighbor’s conversation that involves non-public information about stocks and then use that information to your financial benefit, federal authorities could hold you liable both criminally and civilly for insider trading. If you find yourself in this unexpected and unique situation, do not panic. Instead, contact a criminal defense attorney who specializes in white-collar crimes to schedule an immediate consultation.
Seeking Maximum Punishment
Whenever an embezzlement case comes forth, prosecutors will often do everything possible to seek the maximum punishment against the defendant. This is especially so if the defendant is accused of taking money or property from elderly individuals, charities, or creating fraudulent schemes that left numerous people without their life savings. Therefore, if you are facing these charges, expect authorities to drag your reputation through the mud in an effort to prove their case. While you may feel embarrassed, remember that these tactics do not necessarily mean an automatic conviction. By working with a skilled attorney and discussing the details of what transpired along the way, your attorney can dissect the case bit by bit and possibly get the charges against you reduced or dismissed.
If charged with embezzlement, you may face fines of $250,000 and the possibility of spending up to 20 years in federal prison. Due to these severe penalties, federal authorities will use this as leverage in an attempt to have you confess to crimes you may not have committed. In case after case where embezzlement is alleged, it is found out that a person was completely innocent. In many situations, defendants may have failed to fully understand certain rules or procedures within their jobs, resulting in nothing but honest mistakes. However, prosecutors will not see it this way, and will instead claim your actions were done with the intent of taking money or property for your own benefit. Therefore, never assume that even though you know you are innocent that everything will take care of itself. Instead, put your trust in the capable hands of a knowledgeable white-collar crimes defense attorney.
Since you never know how a jury may rule once a case is given to them for deliberation, work with a lawyer who will do everything possible to make sure your case never makes it this far. By having an experienced attorney on your side, they can examine evidence, interview witnesses, and use experts skilled in forensic accounting and research to prove you were not guilty of wrongdoing. By doing so, they can pressure prosecutors into reducing or eliminating various charges against you. Thus, rather than sit back and have no hope whatsoever, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.