Some people may think the criminal charge of embezzlement only encompasses stealing from an employer. The truth, however, is that any instance of someone misappropriating another’s property, money, or assets for personal profit when someone else has trusted them to manage those assets in the best interests of their owner can result in embezzlement charges. If such charges result in a conviction, embezzlement may come with severe penalties in Boynton Beach, Florida.
This is why retaining the services of a Boynton Brach embezzlement lawyer can be so important. A qualified fraud attorney will examine all of the aspects of your case and advise you of the best legal options going forward.
What is the Legal Definition of Employee Theft?
Employee theft is defined by Florida law as when an employee both unlawfully and knowingly attempts to take, or actually takes, something that belongs to their employer. There is also a secondary definition of the term that applies when someone has the intent to deprive their employer of their property, either temporarily or permanently, or to use the property for their own use.
Because employees are in positions of trust with their employers, they can cause a lot of harm to their business if they steal something. Theft involving employers usually involve a larger amount than other kinds of theft. Therefore, because of this elevated position of trust, prosecutors want to impose significant penalties and prison time.
Common Penalties Associated With Embezzlement Charges
Depending on the value of the property or how much money was taken, embezzlement may be classified as either petit theft (misdemeanor) or grand theft (felony). Penalties will be dependent on this classification.
Misdemeanor, or petit theft is when the amount taken is valued at between $100 and $299, and is punishable by a fine up to $1,000, up to one year in prison, or both. If the amount taken exceeds $300 in value but does not exceed $19,999, it is upgraded to a third-degree felony punishable by a $5,000 fine and probation of five years, or up to five years in prison.
A second-degree felony is when the amount taken is between $20,000 and $99,999. It is punishable by a $10,000 fine and probation of 15 years, or up to 15 years in prison. Finally, when the amount taken is worth $100,000 or more, the resulting charge can be a first-degree felony punishable by a $10,000 fine and probation of 30 years, or up to 30 years in prison.
Potential Defenses Against Embezzlement Charges
There are many potential defenses to consider if when someone is accused of the specific type of theft called embezzlement.
- Using the property for a lawful purpose
- Consent to use the property
- No intent to steal the property
- Defendant was acting out of necessity
- Defendant thought they were taking something else that belonged to them
- The amount alleged to have been stolen is incorrect
- The evidence against the defendant is deficient because it can be attributed to poor record keeping and not the defendant
A Boynton Brach embezzlement lawyer could explain these defenses further, and potentially help an individual determine which ones may be applicable in one’s case.
Speaking With a Boynton Beach Embezzlement Attorney
Being charged with the illegal taking of business-related money, can be difficult to defend without legal counsel. It may be critical to speak to someone who can fight for your rights and reputation throughout a criminal trial or possible settlement. If you or a loved one is accused of embezzlement, you may need to retain representation as soon as possible. Contact a Boynton Brach embezzlement lawyer to make sure your legal rights are protected.