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Embezzlement is a complex federal crime involving several specific features that distinguish it from larceny, which is the unlawful theft of an individual’s or company’s private property. The potential consequences of an embezzlement case depend on several important factors, such as the value of the theft in question and the criminal history of the accused. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Tsigler Law can answer all of your questions about embezzlement and develop a formidable plan of defense for your case.
Learn more about federal embezzlement charges below, then contact Tsigler today at (718) 878-3781 or submit the form on our website for a free consultation. Our team has decades of experience providing the highest quality legal representation to our loyal clients throughout the New York City area. We have the knowledge and skills necessary to handle federal embezzlement charges. We are committed to working diligently on your behalf to investigate your case and aggressively pursue the best possible outcome.
What Is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is defined as a trusted individual illegally obtaining access to funds, assets, or property through theft, fraud, misappropriation, or the transfer of ownership from the original owner to the individual perpetrating the crime. The goal of this white-collar crime is to acquire and misuse these resources for personal benefit. In many cases, the individual accused of embezzlement retained a legal right to access the assets or property but is not the legal owner. Sometimes employees of a company that are held in a position of trust will steal or transfer funds and other types of assets by employing skills relevant to their job position. Accountants, tax consultants, and other white-collar professionals with access to financial resources are the most common perpetrators of embezzlement.
How Is Embezzlement Different From Larceny?
Embezzlement and larceny may seem like similar crimes. They both involve the illegal theft of funds, assets, or property belonging to another person, but they do differ in significant ways. Larceny may be committed by anyone against anyone else. Embezzlement, on the other hand, occurs when the defendant was entrusted with the resources they misuse for their personal gain. If the defendant is charged with embezzling the company they work for, embezzlement charges must consider the defendant’s role within the company. While a store clerk stealing money from the cash register would be considered larceny, the same amount of money stolen by the manager would result in an embezzlement charge because this person has been specifically entrusted with the money as part of their job.
Embezzlement cases also include the requirement of fraudulent intent. To convict a defendant of embezzlement, the prosecution must conclusively prove or that the defendant intended to purposefully defraud the owner. In some cases, the defendant takes the property based on the genuine yet mistaken notion that they are the rightful owners of the property. Fraudulent intent means acting to unjustly deprive the property owner, so a defendant who believes they are the true property owner cannot be considered as acting with fraudulent intent and therefore cannot be convicted of embezzlement. Another interesting example of avoiding fraudulent intent is when the defendant argues they took the property with plans to return it before the owner realized it was stolen. In both of these unusual cases, the jury will evaluate the defendant’s conduct and the circumstances surrounding the theft. When property is taken in secret, the jury can infer fraudulent intent. If it was removed right in front of the owner, this indicates a lack of fraudulent intent.
Federal Embezzlement Crimes and Penalties
Most embezzlement charges are handled at the state level, but embezzlement progresses into a federal crime if the company the perpetrator works for in the situation corresponds with national interests. Individuals who illegally access the U.S. government’s assets or property or have received payment from funds gathered by the tax system could be questioned in a federal embezzlement case. This includes entities outside of the government itself, such as contracting organizations or employees of private firms. For example, a contractor working for the federal government who illegally transports any government materials could be charged with embezzlement.
The U.S. Code Title 18, Chapter 31 details the federal laws prohibiting embezzlement. These laws encompass a wide range of actions and stipulate penalties for these charges. When someone is convicted of embezzlement, they are ordered by the court to make restitution for their crime. This means returning any funding, assets, or property that was taken. If the defendant no longer possesses these items, they will pay off their debt in installments and will be put on probation until the total amount has been paid. The judge may also order additional penalties, including fines, incarceration, or community service.
In most cases, the value of the embezzlement crime is determined based on a $1,000 benchmark. Crimes involving a sum less than $1,000 are deemed to be misdemeanor crimes and can be punishable by a fine of $100,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to one year. Crimes involving $1,000 or over are considered felony crimes and are punishable by a fine of $250,000 and/or a prison sentence of 10 years. This includes embezzlement of public property, money, or records, embezzlement by bankers who intentionally receive unauthorized deposits of money from public funds, embezzlement by employees of the federal court, and embezzlement by agents, officers, or other employees of the federal government.
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Tsigler Law Can Fight for You
If you have been wrongfully accused of federal embezzlement charges, contact Tsigler Law immediately. Our principal attorney Robert Tsigler is a well-known and award-winning criminal defense attorney with an impressive record helping thousands of NYC residents just like you win their cases. His team of expert attorneys have unparalleled experience navigating these challenging cases and always aim to serve their clients’ best interests.
When you’re confronted by federal prosecutors on embezzlement charges, it is in your best interest to seek qualified legal assistance right away. Call Tsigler Law at (718) 878-3781 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure you receive timely, comprehensive representation during this difficult time.