When a person is in a position of trust with another person or company, and they use that position of trust to steal from the person or company, that is embezzlement according to our white collar crime attorneys.
For example, Bob is the CEO of ABC Company. As such, he has access to the company bank accounts, vendor charge accounts, and credit cards. In Bob’s position, it is not unusual for him to have receipts for taking clients to dinner or sporting events, and large charges on his company credit card. He can make exceptions and allow purchases that are above the norm for business sake. No one questions the purchases or charges that Bob has signed off on himself.
Bob begins to pay for personal dinners and sporting events that he wants to treat his friends too. He begins making purchases for himself, which he signs off on as client gifts. Soon Bob is financing his lifestyle with company funds. Bob is guilty of embezzlement.
There are many examples that are not this dramatic. A cashier that voids a ticket and puts the money in her pocket, or a manager who takes a few dollars from the evening bank deposit is also guilty of embezzlement. Just as the home care nurse who uses a patient’s credit card to make personal purchases. If you are entrusted with the ability to handle the victim’s funds and you misused them to benefit yourself, you are embezzling.
Is Embezzlement A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?
Well, the answer is yes. Embezzlement can be a misdemeanor in the case of petit theft of small amounts or a felony in the case of large dollar amounts. There is even a bit of a crossover where the crime of grand-theft is charged. This is a misdemeanor charge that carries the same penalty as a first-degree felony. Large dollar amounts are felony charges.
Florida often rolls several charges into one in cases like embezzlement. Instead of being charged for embezzlement, larceny, and fraud, they may roll the whole thing into one big theft charge. One charge, one trial, on whopping sentence.
What Are The Penalties?
If the dollar amount is small, and if this is the first offense, they may charge this as a misdemeanor. That is 6-months to 1-year in jail and a fine of $500 – $1,000. As the dollar amount of the crime grows, the charges grow and so does the penalty.
If the charge is significant or if the judge deems it to be so outrageous, it can end with 30-year prison terms and major fines in the thousands. Again, the amount of money stolen will affect the fines.
What Can You Do?
Embezzlement is not difficult to prove. In Florida, the prosecution does not have to prove that anything was taken without consent. Instead, they must prove that after consent was granted the money was taken for your own use.
The best hope you have is a qualified white collar crime attorney. A qualified white collar crime attorney will know what factors to introduce to reduce the charges against you. They are the only hope you have of a plea bargain or to gain mercy from the justice system. Do not hesitate to get the legal help you need.