Few charges can ruin your life as quickly as embezzlement. It will tarnish your reputation at work and at home. These charges require a strong defense to avoid the harshest consequences under California law and in your personal life.
Embezzlement is defined in California Penal Code Section 503 PC. Under this statute, embezzlement occurs when money or property is misappropriated after it was entrusted to someone’s care.
Examples of embezzlement include:
Folsom prosecutors must prove three essential elements to convict you of embezzlement:
The prosecution must prove that the owner of the property or money entrusted you with the property or money. The owner must have given you power over the money or property because they trusted you. For example, you may be an employee, trustee, or investor who has been permitted to handle or manage money or property on behalf of the owner.
The prosecutor must show that you fraudulently converted the property or money to your benefit. You act fraudulently when you take undue advantage or cause a loss to another person by breaching a duty, trust, or confidence.
It must be shown that you intended to deprive the owner of the money or property of its use. It is important to note that even a temporary intent to deprive the owner of property or money is enough to get an embezzlement conviction in California.
Intent to return the property is not a defense unless you restored the property before you were charged. Additionally, the owner of the property or money doesn’t need to ask for the return of their property for the charge to apply.
Many crimes are related to embezzlement, and they are often charged at the same time, including:
A Folsom embezzlement lawyer can help you understand all your charges, including embezzlement and those added on top of the base charge. Then, they can help you develop a strong defense to get the best outcome possible.
Embezzlement may be charged as either grand theft or petty theft, depending on the value and type of stolen property.
Grand theft involves property or money worth more than $950, an automobile, or a firearm. If convicted of embezzlement as a grand theft, you may face either a misdemeanor or a felony. As a misdemeanor, embezzlement is punishable by up to one year in county jail. As a felony, you may face a maximum of three years in prison.
If the property involved is worth $950 or less, you will face a petty theft misdemeanor. This could result in up to six months in county jail.
In addition to incarceration, you may face the following consequences for an embezzlement conviction:
If you are charged with embezzlement, you need a strong defense to prove your innocence. Folsom embezzlement attorney Chris Walsh knows what you’re facing. He used to be a prosecutor, so he knows how they form cases. Now, he uses his knowledge to fight for those who have been accused.
Attorney Walsh knows how to get charges reduced and dropped. He will do his best to develop a strong defense, which may include:
Fraudulent use of the money or property is required to secure an embezzlement conviction. Thus, you should not be found guilty if you did not take undue advantage of another person or cause loss to them through breaching a duty or confidence.
If you had a good faith belief that you had a right to the property or money in question, then you should not be found guilty of embezzlement. It’s important to know that you may have had a good faith belief, even if it was mistaken.
There are many ways you can show that you did not intend to deprive the owner of the property or money. For example, if you returned the property before charges were filed, then you should not be convicted of embezzlement.
Embezzlement is stealing money or property entrusted to you, while theft is stealing money or property not entrusted to you. Despite their differences, these crimes have identical penalties in California.
The victim of embezzlement may file a civil lawsuit against the embezzler. The claim may involve a breach of contract, conversion, or unjust enrichment. If the judge or jury finds that the embezzler did steal the money, then the court can order the embezzler to pay restitution or damages to the victim.
It’s important to know that the embezzler does not have to be found guilty in criminal court to be held accountable in civil court. That is because civil court has a different, lower standard of proof.
An embezzlement conviction on your record can make it difficult to get jobs and succeed in society. So, it’s understandable that you would want to get it expunged. As long as you did not serve time in prison, you should be able to get your embezzlement conviction expunged once you are done with all jail time and probation.
Embezzlement is a serious white-collar crime that can tarnish your professional reputation and land you in jail. It’s best to navigate the legal process with the help of an experienced Folsom embezzlement lawyer who can guide you through the California judicial system. At Walsh Law, we develop strong defense strategies and work to get charges reduced or dismissed.