Facing Embezzlement Charges In Tennessee
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According to 18 U.S.C. § 656, Embezzlement is simply defined as theft or withholding of assets by a person in a position of responsibility over the assets. A person, such as bank tellers or store clerks, are often given access to someone else’s property or money for the purposes of managing, monitoring, and/or using the assets for the owner’s best interests, but then secretly uses the assets for his/her own personal gain. This is an example of embezzlement.
Embezzlement can be as simple as a store clerk taking a few dollars from the cash register, or can be large-scale such as executives of large companies falsely expensing millions of dollars and pocketing the money into their own personal accounts. Embezzlement can involve taking large sums of money at one time, or small amounts over a long period of time. The methods used to embezzle can be very creative, such as fraudulent billing, payroll checks to employees that do not exist, records falsification, “Ponzi” schemes, and more.
In order for a charge of embezzlement to be supported, four factors must be present:
- There must be a fiduciary relationship between the two parties. That is, there must be a reliance by one party on the other
- The defendant must have acquired the property through the relationship (rather than in some other manner)
- The defendant must have taken ownership of the property or transferred the property to someone else
- The defendant’s actions were intentional.
Depending on the crime, embezzlement can be punished by large fines and jail time. According to the statute for embezzlement 18 U.S.C. § 656, a person guilty of embezzlement shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
In Tennessee, embezzlement is punished according to the value of the money or property stolen. (TCA § 39-14-105.)
$60,000 or more: Penalties include a fine of up to $25,000, and/or 8-15 years in prison
$10,000 – $60,000: Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, and/or 3-15 years in prison
$1,000 – $10,000: Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, and/or 2-12 years in prison
$500 -$1,000: Penalties include a fine of up to $3,000, and/or 1-6 years in prison
$500 or less: Penalties include a fine of up to $2,500, and/or up to 1 year in prison
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If you’re facing charges for embezzlement, your constitutional rights may be at risk. Protect yourself now and down the road with help from the skilled defense attorneys at our firm.
Contact McKellar & Easter, Attorneys at Law, by calling 865-566-0125 or filling out this contact form to schedule a free initial telephone consultation with one of our lawyers. Appointments are available at any of our three offices: Knoxville, Tennessee; Nashville, Tennessee; and Atlanta, Georgia. We accept credit cards.