Embezzlement is one of those crimes that sounds familiar to most people, but few are able to define correctly. Often used by Hollywood as a convoluted plot device, it’s typically portrayed as involving large sums of money and high-profile business executives. While it certainly can encompass those things, embezzlement is also a fairly common charge against so-called “ordinary” people. Handling expensive items or substantial amounts of money is tempting to many individuals. Even those with good intentions can be convicted, however, leaving a very dark mark on their life, both personally and professionally.
If you have been accused of embezzlement, securing good legal representation early in the process is crucial to your case. Come to the Kentucky defense attorneys at the Carman Law Firm to discuss the charges, review the circumstances of your arrest, and make a plan for defending your rights. The founder and managing partner of our firm, Dan Carman, knows how the Kentucky Criminal Justice system operates and will personally handle your case each step of the way. Call his office at (859) 685-1055 or complete this convenient online form for a free initial consultation.
Embezzlement is a theft crime, but its signifying element lies in a relationship of trust. To be accused of embezzlement, a defendant must have had legal access to the property, but not legal ownership. Taking money or property for your own gain that was entrusted to you to manage is embezzlement. There are different levels of trust, which affects the case. For example, if the CEO of a company gives one person exclusive access to account numbers and other authorizations, a break in that trust is likely going to have more severe consequences than an office assistant who takes $20 from petty cash after noticing the box was left open. Other scenarios that can result in an embezzlement charge include:
- Treasurer of a company finds himself in a temporary financial bind, so decides to take money from the business account.
- Valet at an airport allows a friend who needs a ride to borrow a car placed in his care.
- Elderly patient gives her home healthcare worker money to deposit into her bank account, but the healthcare worker pockets the money instead, thinking it won’t be missed.
Simply working for someone does not elevate a theft to embezzlement. The prosecution must be able to show that the owner of the property entrusted you with it and that you used it for your benefit. If the property was taken in an attempt to somehow benefit the owner, that is misconduct, not embezzlement.
Typically, the penalties for embezzlement parallel those of theft or larceny, but it usually depends on the value of the property in question. Whether you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges depends on many factors and can sometimes be intertwined with charges of larceny, theft, fraud, forgery, identify theft, bad checks, credit card fraud, or other white collar crimes. If you are prosecuted in federal court for something that happened across state lines, that will also affect the consequences. In Kentucky, many embezzlement charges fall under “theft by deception,” which is a Class A misdemeanor if the money or property is less than $500. It’s a Class D felony if the property value is between $500 and $10,000. It’s a Class C felony if the amount exceeds $10,000.
If you know or fear that the allegations against you are true, a good attorney will look at all the facts and work to clear the air completely, negotiate a plea deal, or get you a reduced sentence.
Sometimes, the situation really is one big misunderstanding. Being charged with embezzlement does not mean hope is lost. It’s just a matter of de-cluttering the facts, which can sometimes even lead to the judge dismissing the case altogether. For example:
- It was all a simple error. Your intent was not to take property at all.
- A former employer or friend looking for an easy buck is holding a grudge, and the charges have no basis in truth.
- You had good reason to take or use the property, and you acted in good faith and without concealment. This is often a valid defense when the terms of a will or other legal document are unclear or otherwise confusing.
- Intent to return it is usually not a valid legal defense. Trying to convince the court that you simply were borrowing something, is not going to cut it.
We Can Help
An advocate in your corner who will thoroughly review and investigate the factual and the legal issues in your case can make all the difference. From Kentucky misdemeanors to federal charges and felonies, the Lexington-based Carman Law Firm has the knowledge and experience necessary to obtain the best possible resolution of your criminal charges. KY embezzlement defense attorney Dan Carman provides aggressive representation with proven results to clients throughout the state in communities such as Richmond, Winchester, Georgetown and Nicholasville. A native of Lexington and a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, Dan is dedicated to helping those in his community who may find themselves struggling with serious allegations. Not all criminal charges have to end in convictions. Contact him today and tell him your side of the story. Call (859) 685-1055 or fill out this online contact form.