In California, embezzlement refers to stealing or misappropriation of funds that have been entrusted to an individual. To convict a defendant of embezzlement, the prosecutor must prove that the owner of the property entrusted it to the defendant; that the defendant then fraudulently used the property for his or her own benefit; and that by doing so, the defendant intended to deprive the owner of the property of its use. In order to prove that the defendant committed the act of embezzlement the prosecutor must show evidence that there was a relationship of trust between the property’s owner and the person who was entrusted with it.
Embezzlement is a crime that may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. This depends on the amount of money that has been embezzled or the value of the property that is believed to have been taken. A misdemeanor embezzlement conviction could result in up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A felony embezzlement conviction could result in up to three years in prison, formal probation and a fine of up to $10,000.
Tips if You Have Been Accused
If you have been accused of embezzling money or property, you may be wondering how to clear your name and defend the charges. Here are a few tips from our Orange County embezzlement defense lawyers:
Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away. Whether you are under investigation for embezzlement or whether you are actually facing charges, the most important step you can take is contact a criminal defense lawyer who can help ensure that your legal rights and protected every step of the way.
Don’t talk to the police or investigators. You need to have a defense lawyer by your side before you talk to anyone. Police officers may seem friendly and may even seem like they have your best interests at heart. But, that’s not usually the case. Anything you tell the police can, and most often, will be used against you in court.
Stay away from social media. Remember, that anything you post on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere on the Internet can also be used against you as evidence in court. This could include posts by you, responses you post on others’ sites and any photos or videos you may upload. If you are been accused of embezzlement, it is best to stay away from posting or responding to anything online.
Preserve all pertinent evidence. Save any and all types of evidence including receipts, internal memos, emails and other communications and correspondence, which show you did not embezzle the money or property.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
Our experienced criminal defense lawyers know that even getting accused of embezzlement can have serious repercussions for you. In addition to facing criminal charges, you may be looking at other consequences such as job loss or even career loss. The allegations may leave your precious reputation tarnished. This is why you need to fight the charges with a knowledgeable and skilled defense attorney on your side.