Embezzlement is a term that is thrown around often, but many are actually unfamiliar with what the term means. While embezzlement is not the same as theft of someone’s property, it is still a form of theft. In legal terms, embezzlement is known as ‘larceny.’
When someone has embezzled money, this means they have taken money that belongs to someone else. Most times, someone who embezzled money was entrusted with that money by a company or organization.
Penalties For Embezzlement
Embezzlement is a form of fraud and is a severe offense. The penalties depend on the amount of money taken. One may be charged with a misdemeanor for smaller amounts of cash or a felony for more significant amounts.
- $500 or less is a Class A misdemeanor and can lead to incarceration for 11 months. Fines may go up to $2,500.
- $500-$1,000 is a Class D felony, and one can be fined up to $5,000. The penalty is up to 12 years of incarceration.
- $10,000-$60,000 is a Class C felony. It will attract a fine of up to $10,000 and a penalty of up to 15years incarceration.
- $60,000- $250,000 is a Class B felony fined up to $25,000 and penalty of up to 15years incarceration.
How To Defend Against Embezzlement Charges
Here are some common defenses you can go with if you’ve been charged with embezzlement.
Challenging evidence means you attack the validity of the claim against you. Embezzlement isn’t as simple as direct robbery, and people who do it often retrace their steps or use complex means to hide what they’ve done. With some financial experience, you may be able to prove that you didn’t engage in illegal actions.
When moving large sums of money, one can mistakenly make a clerical error. In a criminal prosecution, the prosecution should show that your actions were deliberate. The financial world isn’t clear-cut, so you might have accidentally taken more than your share.
Operating Under Duress
The reason why embezzlement laws exist is that not everyone in the finance industry is honest about their dealings. Some people work with unscrupulous firms that compel them to relocate funds to questionable locations.
Even though you’re still responsible for what you do, the law is compassionate about situations such as power dynamics between an employee and their boss. When a court shows you sympathy for duress, they may acknowledge that you had no choice and drop the charges against you.
Entrapment is the act of priming someone into criminal behavior. For example, if you’ve been a law-abiding citizen who works in finance, someone may dangle an opportunity that looks too good for you to say no. Even if you do, they may continue to pressure you and make the deal better every time they present it to you.
If you have been charged or accused of embezzlement or another crime it is best to contact a Knoxville criminal defense attorney in Tennessee to make sure that your rights are protected. We work for YOU and YOUR RIGHTS!