Embezzlement is a complicated criminal charge that is often misunderstood. When broken down to its most basic application, embezzlement refers to the misuse of someone else’s property that has been entrusted to you. The crux of this charge is that you had the legal authority – granted to you by the property owner – to deal with the property in some capacity and that the alleged crime took place only after this authority was granted. This caveat distinguishes embezzlement from many other crimes involving finances.
By Way of Example
The crime of embezzlement can be difficult to wrap your head around, but an example can help. Embezzlement can be as simple as failing to make a business deposit with money entrusted to you by your boss and as complicated as cooking the books and altering the numbers in a manner that allows you to pocket the overages. Embezzlement can be difficult to spot and complicated to prove. Even if the alleged embezzler, however, has every intention of paying the embezzled money back, he or she can still face charges of embezzlement.
Charges, Penalties, and Fines
As with other types of theft, embezzlement charges and attendant penalties are based on the amount of money involved. The following classifications apply:
- If you are accused of embezzling less than $50, you are facing a Class C misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $500.
- If you are accused of embezzling an amount between $50 and $500, you are facing a Class B misdemeanor that carries up to $2,000 in fines and up to 180 days in jail.
- If you are accused of embezzling an amount between $500 and $1,500, you are facing a Class A misdemeanor that carries up to $4,000 in fines and up to one year in jail.
- If you are accused of embezzling $1,500 or more, you are facing a felony that carries anywhere from 180 days to life in prison (depending upon the circumstances and the amount of money involved).
Embezzlement is an extremely serious charge that should always be taken extremely seriously.
Bringing Your Strongest Defense
If you have been charged with embezzling, bringing your strongest defense is paramount, and defense strategies often include:
- You, in good faith, believed you had a right to the funds in question.
- Embezzlement took place, but you were not the responsible party.
- You were falsely accused as a result of someone else’s grudge against you or of misdirection of attention into the alleged crime (being set up, in other words).
Whatever the circumstances, working closely with an experienced criminal attorney will help ensure that your legal rights are well protected.
Do Not Delay Contacting a Knowledgeable Attorney Today
If you are facing embezzlement charges, attorney Brett Pritchard has the kind of legal experience you are looking for and need. Our dedicated legal team at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is poised to help, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us with your questions at 254-501-4040 today.