If you or a loved one is charged with embezzlement, do not hesitate to speak to a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, since these charges are quite serious. Basically, embezzlement is a fancy legal term for theft. Embezzlement is defined as someone entrusted with managing or monitoring someone else’s money or property and allegedly stealing all, or a portion, of that money or property. You may be thinking, “isn’t that just stealing?” Yes. Taking money or property for personal gain is stealing but when an individual steals while actively engaged in unique position of trust (e.g., bank teller, chief financial officer, accountant, etc.), embezzlement is the charge.
Embezzlement Conviction Features Sliding Scale of Punishment
Under California Penal Code § 514, the punishment associated with an embezzlement conviction is dependent upon the value of the property stolen and the type of property stolen. For example, if you allegedly embezzled property worth less than $950, then you are probably looking at a misdemeanor charge with a possible jail sentence of six months or less and a fine of up to $1,000. If, on the other hand, you allegedly embezzled funds or property worth more than $950, then you are looking at a grand theft charge, which carries a potential jail sentence of up to a year or more.
Discretionary Penalty “Enhancement” Can Make an Embezzlement Conviction Even Worse
If you are convicted of multiple felonies involving embezzlement of funds or property worth more than $100,000, then a judge has the discretionary authority to enforce a “white collar crime enhancement” that adds up to five years of prison time to your sentence, according to California Penal Code § 186.11.
A similar “enhancement” can be imposed by a judge on a defendant who allegedly embezzled funds or property from an elderly person. The most common example is a caregiver or nursing home that took money and/or property from an elderly patient.
Embezzling Public Funds Carries Similarly Serious Penalties
If you are charged with embezzling taxpayer money (e.g., state trust fund), you are looking at a felony charge carrying a multi-year prison sentence and possibly having to repay the stolen funds, according to Cal Penal Code § 514.
Contact a Los Angeles White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one was charged with the white collar crime of embezzlement, you are likely facing serious and potentially life-changing criminal penalties if convicted. Do not fight these charges alone. An experienced Los Angeles criminal lawyer from The Law Office of Peter Berlin can help you or a loved one during this difficult time by providing a vigorous legal defense and important advice to you during the litigation process. In these types of cases, you are often up against skilled prosecutors who spend most of their day in the courtroom. They are working to convict you. Level the playing field with a skilled lawyer on your side. Call us today at (310) 289-5418 to schedule a meeting.