While white-collar criminal cases lack an element of violence, charges involving any type of financial crime carry the potential for severe penalties. This includes a sentence of imprisonment, fines, supervised release/probation and much more.
Embezzlement is one of the most common types of white-collar criminal charges, and a conviction could change the course of your life. Whether you’re being investigated for embezzlement or have already been charged, it is in your best interest to take the appropriate steps to challenge the case against you with a carefully crafted defense strategy.
A strong defense against embezzlement charges begins with an understanding of what you are up against. Embezzlement is a type of theft committed with the intent of financial gain. This white-collar crime is different from basic theft because it involves an individual who is in a position of trust or authority unlawfully converting assets that belong to another. When you are made aware of the specific allegations you may be facing, you’ll be in a stronger position to confront the case against you.
The elements of an embezzlement charge
The definition of embezzlement is the taking or misappropriation of assets by someone who was in a position of trust or authority. Embezzlement cases usually involve the alleged theft of assets by someone who is in a position to have access to the assets, such as a financial advisor or an official at a financial institution. Prosecuting embezzlement can be difficult as there must be proof of the following four elements:
- There was a fiduciary relationship between the two parties in which one party relied on the other;
- The defendant was able to obtain through access he or she had because of this relationship;
- The actions of the defendant were intentional and not because of an error or mistake; and
- The defendant took ownership of the property, destroyed it, hid it or gave it to someone else.
If you are facing charges of embezzlement, you have a lot at stake. If convicted, you could face prison, loss of your job, loss of future employment opportunities, loss of your personal reputation and much more.
Whenever you are being investigated or charged with a crime as significant as embezzlement, it’s important to take your situation seriously. Don’t underestimate law enforcement officers or their ability to uncover damaging evidence. Instead, seek a beneficial outcome by building a strong defense strategy custom-tailored to your objectives. Once the nature of the charges against you becomes evident, an experienced attorney can begin mounting a strategic defense and explain the various legal options available to you.