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What is Embezzlement and what are the Criminal Charges?

By Spodek Law Group | April 21, 2015
(Last Updated On: May 27, 2023)

Embezzlement is one sort of property robbery. It happens when somebody who was endowed to oversee or screen another person’s cash or property takes all or piece of that cash or property for the taker’s close to home addition. The key is that the litigant had lawful access to an alternate’s cash or property, however not legitimate responsibility for. Taking the cash or property for the respondent’s own particular addition is taking; when consolidated with the way that this taking was additionally an infringement of an exceptional position of trust, you have the special wrongdoing of embezzlement.
Embezzlement can happen in a mixed bag of circumstances. Case in point, a bank employee has legitimate access to customer cash, and is trusted to handle yet not take that cash. Officers and workers of organizations can likewise steal stores having a place with the organization, as can relatives watching over a relative, experts like attorneys or board parts who handle customer or speculator cash, or anybody in a position of trust as to another person’s cash or property.
How is Embezzlement Punished?
A conviction for embezzlement generally brings about a fine, prison or jail time, or both. Each one state has it punishment plan; contingent upon the quality or kind of property you have stolen (and in numerous states, whether there were any irritating elements going with the wrongdoing), the punishments will contrast in their seriousness.
To skip specifically to your state’s discipline extents, see “Embezzlement Laws by State” beneath, and click the connection to your state. For the government wrongdoing, see Federal Embezzlement Laws & Penalties
Property estimation
Most states rebuff embezzlement feelings as indicated by the estimation of the cash or property stolen. Most generally, a state will list fiscal worth reaches (for instance “property worth short of what $500”) and comparing fines and correctional facility or jail sentences for each one reach.
Property sort
A few states likewise rundown sorts of property that (paying little mind to esteem) acquire particular fines and jail terms. For instance, in light of the fact that it is a forerunner fixing in making methamphetamine, anhydrous alkali is a case of a sort of property that numerous states particularly count for merciless punishments, paying little heed to the sum or worth stolen. Different sorts of property regularly incorporate guns, animals, property stolen amid a crisis or regular calamity, or open records.

Uncommon Penalties for Special Property or Defendants
Numerous states single-out embezzlement of specific sorts of property or by specific litigants, and rebuff those wrongdoings more extremely than other embezzlement offenses. Here is a testing.
-an creature taken with the end goal of creature battling (Arizona)
-an question that has inborn, subjective, or peculiar worth to its manager regardless of the fact that the property has no business quality or substitution cost; service organization property (Arkansas)
-a organic specimen, society, microorganism, or records of an exploratory mystery, specialized methodology, or innovation (Connecticut)
-a fire douser; any measure of citrus tree grown foods comprising of 2,000 or more pieces; any stop sign (Florida)
-property surpassing $500 in esteem that is a ferrous metal (metals containing iron, for example, steel or pig iron) (Georgia) Acquaculture items (fish) from a private, fenced zone (Hawaii)
-religious things worth more than $100 (New York)
-valuable metals stole from a doctor’s facility (Indiana)
-embezzlement by school treasurers (Pennsylvania)
-buffalo or hostage non-residential elk (South Dakota)
-embezzling open cash implied for thruway or street use by a boss regulatory officer (Tennessee)
-embezzlement by somebody who is in a contractual association with the legislature (Texas)
-an on-obligation inquiry and salvage canine (Washington)
-property stolen from a body (Wisconsin)
Numerous states oblige respondents to pay compensation to their victim(s). This generally includes reimbursing the victimized person for the money related estimation of the cash or property stole. At the point when appropriate, compensation is frequently notwithstanding the relevant fines and jail time.
Bothering elements
Numerous states force harsher punishments when the litigant stole from an exceptionally secured class of exploited people, (for example, elderly or handicapped grown-ups), or when the respondent had an uplifted level of trust with the victimized person, (for example, when the respondent is an open servant, or bank or insurance agency representative).

According to statistics, an average U.S. company loses around 7% of its revenue annually to employee theft. Moreover, a third of all bankruptcies in the country are caused by embezzlement. Obviously, in order to stay afloat, businesses are striving to eliminate theft in the workplace.

Embezzlement and Its Types

Embezzlement is willful misappropriation of company assets by an employee who has been entrusted to manage or use the property to the benefit of its rightful owner.

It may take various forms:

  • stealing cash from the register;
  • raising the price of the product or service without authorization and pocketing the difference;
  • taking inventory or merchandise for personal use;
  • adding non-existing employees to the payroll;
  • meddling with time logs;
  • stealing from the company’s customers;
  • accounting embezzlement: altering records to hide theft or losses;
  • wasting the company’s funds when traveling on business;
  • fake hard money loans
  • fake reverse mergers
  • padding bills and expense accounts;
  • stealing sensitive information and using it to obtain profit;
  • check or credit card kiting;
  • Ponzi schemes;
  • etc.

So why do people commit these crimes? The thing is that most commonly employees don’t commit a one-time huge theft but instead steal in small amounts over a large period of time. Reportedly, an average embezzler steals for over 2 years before detected. Taking $20 from the register or one printer cartridge from the office supplies box might seem like an innocent thing to do, and statistically, over three quarters of employees have stolen at least once from their employer. But such little things add up to incredible sums. U.S. companies lose over $50 bn to employee theft each year.

Factors of Embezzlement

In order to bring charges and obtain conviction, prosecutors need to prove the presence of four factors:

  • firstly, fiduciary relationship between the victim and the defendant, most commonly it is an employee-employer relationship;
  • the property is obtained through the relationship, which makes this crime different from theft or larceny;
  • the property has been transferred to ownership of the defendant or a third party related to the defendant;
  • the defendant acted willfully.

It may seem that some of the factors are hard to prove, and it’s true, which makes it easier for financial fraud lawyers to build proactive defense strategies based on disproving the factors.

Consequences and Penalties of Embezzlement

Such cases can be prosecuted both on federal and state levels. Most embezzlement cases are prosecuted in state courts unless the crime occurred in a federal organization or company which is funded by the federal government.

Embezzlement can result in both civil litigation and criminal prosecution. In the first case, the victim files a lawsuit against the alleged offender to obtain restitution of the embezzled assets. In order to obtain the restitution, the defendant’s wages can be garnished and their property seized. If the case is prosecuted in criminal court, then, depending on the type of property embezzled, its value, presence of aggravating factors, state where the case is prosecuted and some other circumstances, possible penalties may be imprisonment of up to 30 years, steep fines and victim restitution.

Embezzlement Classification by New York State Penal Law

If compared to most U.S. states, New York criminal statutes have probably the harshest penalties for theft by embezzlement. They depend mostly on the value of property stolen:

  • up to $1,000: misdemeanor Class A, petit larceny – up to $1,000 fine, up to 1 year in jail;
  • $1,000–$3,000: 4th degree, felony Class E – up to $5,000 fine, 4 years in prison;
  • $3,000–$50,000: 3rd, D felony – up to $5,000 fine, 7 years in prison;
  • $50,000–$100,000: 2nd, C felony – up to $15,000 fine, 15 years in prison;
  • over $100,000: 1st, B felony – no more than $30,000 fine, 25 years in prison.

All the offenses except for embezzlement and grand larceny in the 1st degree have possible probation or a conditional discharge. Also, mind that these sentences are valid for non-predicate felons. Some aggravating factors and the fact that the person is a second and third time offender might result in a harsher punishment.

Most embezzlement cases are not quite straightforward. In some cases in a fiduciary relationship it is hard to draw a clear line between what can and cannot be done by the employee. A number of things are done without written authorization, which may lead to the employee being charged with funds misappropriation and embezzlement. Also, some financial losses in an organization may be traced back to honest mistakes by the bookkeepers, attorneys or accounts, and to err is human, but it doesn’t mean that such slip should be recorded on the criminal history of the person and affect their employment opportunities and livelihood.

Therefore, in order to ensure that the defendant’s rights are safeguarded, it is of vital importance to retain an experienced financial crimes attorney who will protect the person throughout all of the prosecution and litigation stages and ensure the best possible resolution of the case.

Larceny is a theft crime. Larceny is taking property owned by someone else with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. The property is taken without the owner’s consent. Another form of larceny is called embezzlement.
Embezzlement is the taking of property entrust to the person with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. The property is taken without their consent. In New York, the embezzlement is included within its larceny statute.
Have you been charged with embezzlement in New York? You need to talk to a criminal attorney immediately. Contact us for help. A district attorney builds a case against you based on the legal definition of embezzlement.
New York’s Definition of Embezzlement
How New York defines embezzlement is by connecting the elements of the crime together. Elements are steps a district attorney needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a defendant. The state defines embezzlement as a person taking property belonging to another individual. The person were entrusted with keeping the property, but converted, or transferred, the property to someone else. They converted the property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner.
For example, a teller at a bank entrusted with a drawer of money takes $5,000 and places it into a family member’s account. The bank teller has the intent to permanently deprive the bank of the $5,000 by never giving it back.
If charged, a district attorney must prove the bank teller:
• Took property belonging to another
• The property was converted to someone other than the accused
• The accused was entrusted with the property embezzled
• The accused intended to defraud the owner
Embezzlement is a felony in New York. If you or a loved one is charged with this crime, a criminal attorney can help you. You want to avoid the harsh consequences of a criminal conviction.
New York has Four Embezzlement Charges
An embezzlement charge and punishment depends on the value of property taken. A person accused of embezzlement will actually be charged with grand larceny. New York has four separate grand larceny charges:
• Grand larceny in the fourth degree is for property converted that is valued at $1,000, but less than $3,000
• Grand larceny in the third degree is for converted property valued from $3,001 to $50,000
• Grand larceny in the second degree is for converted property with the value of $50,001, but less than $1 million
• Grand larceny in the first degree is for property converted valued at more than $1 million
Penalties for an Embezzlement Conviction in New York
Penalties for an embezzlement conviction depends on the type of grand larceny a person was convicted of committing. The ultimate punishment is prison time. The amount of prison time includes:
• Four years in prison and/or $5,000 fine for a grand larceny in the fourth degree conviction
• Seven years in prison and/or $5,000 fine for a grand larceny in the third degree conviction
• 15 years in prison and/or $15,000 fine for a grand larceny in the second degree conviction
• 25 years in prison and/or $30,000 fine for a grand larceny in the first degree conviction
Affirmative Defenses to Embezzlement in New York
A person charged with embezzlement has the right to counter the district attorney’s accusation with a defense. Their specific defense depends on the facts of the case. However, some defenses include:
• The property was obtained in good faith and not stolen or taken
• The defendant wasn’t entrusted with the property
• The defendant didn’t convert any property belonging to someone else
Contact a Criminal Attorney about Fighting an Embezzlement Charge
New York has tough larceny laws and punishment. Anyone charged of embezzlement or any larceny crime should seek legal representation immediately. A criminal attorney will fight the charge, get it reduced or dismissed.
If you are accused of embezzlement, contact an attorney immediately. An attorney will explain the laws and the specific facts outlined in the criminal complaint against you. Your attorney will also start building a defense based on the facts on the case. To learn more about your legal rights and the defenses available, contact a criminal attorney.
What is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is defined as the act of stealing property or money that one has been placed in charged of. It typically occurs in an employment setting. Accounting embezzlement is one example of embezzlement. A person may manipulate the records in order to hide the fact that they have stolen money.
People are often placed in charge of accounts in order to monitor and manage it. The owner of the accounts thinks that the people have their best interests in mind. However, people who manage accounts often use the accounts for their own personal gain.
Store clerks and bank tellers are some of the people who can commit embezzlement. They are directly in charge of money, so it will be easy for them to steal it. People may also commit embezzlement if they are put in charge of company vehicles, laptops or other property.
Some people will take a large amount of money at one time. Others will embezzle small amounts over a long period of time. People often get creative when they embezzle money. They can fraudulently bill people. They may also be involved in a ponzi financial scheme. Additionally, they may falsify employee records.
How People get Charged With Embezzlement
The following elements have to be present in order for a person to be charged with embezzlement.

  • There is a fiduciary relationship between both parties. This means that both parties trust and rely on each other.
  • The defendant is in charge of the property through the relationship that they have with the other partner.
  • The defendant must take possession of the property or transfer the ownership to another person.
  • The defendant intentionally committed embezzlement.

Common Embezzlement Defenses
The same defenses that can be used for other types of crimes can also be used for embezzlement.
Insufficient Evidence
Any charge can be dismissed if there is a lack of evidence. In fact, it is estimated that 40 percent of embezzlement cases are dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
Duress occurs when a person commits a crime because they are afraid that they will be in danger if they do not go through with it. For example, many people use this defense because they believe that they will lose their job if they do not go through with it. However, people cannot use this defense if they said that they stole the money so that they could take care of their family.
Entrapment is a defense that is used when a person commits a crime due to the compulsion of the government. They can argue that they would have not committed embezzlement on their own.
Insanity can be used as an embezzlement defense. However, it is hard to use this defense for any type of crime. The success rate for this defense is extremely low.
Incapacity is not the same thing as insanity. You may be able to use this defense if you can prove that your mentally incapacitated during the time the crime was committed. For example, you were under the influence of a medication when you accidentally deposited money from the company into your account.
It is hard to use intoxication as a criminal defense for any crime. If you drink voluntarily, then the court will assume that you knew about the risks of doing so.
What Happens If I Return The Money or Property That I Embezzled?
You may be able to get a lighter sentence if you return the money or property. However, this is dependent on the manner in which you paid the company and the amount of harm that was caused.
Protect Your Interests and Hire An Attorney
The government has to be able to prove that you committed the crime that you have been accused of. You can protect your interests by hiring an attorney. A lawyer can help you put together a defense.

Embezzlement is a type of property theft that occurs when someone who is entrusted to manage or monitor another person’s money or property takes all or part of that money or property for their personal gain. It typically occurs in employment settings, such as bank tellers, store clerks, or people in charge of company vehicles and equipment. Embezzlement can result in both civil litigation and criminal prosecution, with possible penalties including imprisonment, fines, and victim restitution. Common defenses for embezzlement charges include insufficient evidence, duress, entrapment, insanity, incapacity, and intoxication. Returning the embezzled money or property may lead to a lighter sentence, but this depends on the circumstances of the case. Hiring an attorney can help protect the accused person’s interests and build a strong defense against the charges.

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