There are various names or terms which can be used interchangeably for embezzlement, including larceny, stealing, misappropriation, and employee theft. Regardless of the term used to describe this criminal offense, embezzling involves taking money from an employer or company funds, whether through padding an expense report or channeling company funds in an unapproved direction. At The Justice Firm, our Los Angeles embezzlement lawyers know the serious penalties those convicted of this crime face; we are committed to providing you with the best possible defense, working to protect your legal rights, reputation, and freedom.
Considered a white collar crime, embezzlement may involve employee fraud or theft. As defined under California Penal Code 503, it is the unlawful taking of something from another that has been entrusted to you. One way that this crime differs from ordinary theft is that it must be proven that the money or property was "entrusted" to you, in other words you legally possessed the property and/or had the authority to access it. The penalties you face if convicted of this criminal offense will be determined by several factors, including the value of the money or property you allegedly embezzled. You may be charged with grand theft if the property/money is valued at more than $950 under Penal Code 487. If the property is valued at less than $950, it is likely you will be charged with petty theft under Penal Code 488.Los Angeles Embezzlement Law Firm
As trusted criminal defense attorneys across several counties in California, we understand the empowerment an individual often faces when entrusted with financial matters. Whether a vice president or CEO of the company, bank employee, or simply an accounting clerk who is entrusted with handling a company's petty cash fund, being in any position such as these can be risky. Even if you do not commit a crime, you may be accused of abusing the trust of your employer if property or money disappears.
It is important to note that being arrested for embezzling is much different from being arrested for stealing property from a retail store. Embezzlement is often committed in a professional or corporate setting, where detailed trails of paperwork or documentation provide the evidence prosecutors need to charge an individual. It is critical that you obtain the legal support and guidance of a skilled Los Angeles embezzlement lawyer who knows how to sort through the often complex details of these types of cases in order to provide you with an effective defense. Our top priority is protecting your career and reputation.California Criminal Penalties for Embezzlement
If convicted of embezzlement, the penalties you face will depend on whether you were charged with grand theft, or petty theft. A misdemeanor conviction for grand theft will leave you facing a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail; a felony conviction will result in sentencing which includes a maximum fine of $10,000, and 16 months, or two or three years in state prison.
If convicted of petty theft involving property valued at more than $50, penalties will include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. However, if the embezzled property is valued at under $50 and you have no prior criminal record involving theft, your criminal defense lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutor to reduce the criminal charge to an infraction. This would ultimately mean you face a $250 fine, and serve no jail time.Contact The Justice Firm now
If you are under investigation or your employer is questioning you about missing funds it is critical you discuss your situation with a criminal defense lawyer immediately. While the ultimate goal is to avoid having charges filed, a qualified attorney can begin developing a strong defense strategy early on, giving you an advantage in the event your case does go to trial. As skilled negotiators and trial lawyers, we will work vigorously toward your desired outcome, helping you avoid jail or prison time.
Contact our Los Angeles embezzlement defense attorneys now at 310-914-2444 for a free, no obligation consultation.