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.

Accused of embezzlement in Folsom, CA? Call Walsh Law today at 916-237-8270 or use our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation of your case with a Folsom embezzlement lawyer.

What Is Embezzlement in California?

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:

  • A cashier who takes money from the register to use for themselves.
  • A club treasurer who takes money from the club’s bank account to pay for a personal vacation.
  • An investor who takes a client’s money to pay off a gambling debt.

Elements of Embezzlement

Folsom prosecutors must prove three essential elements to convict you of embezzlement:

1. Entrustment

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.

2. Fraudulent Conversion

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.

3. Intent to Deprive

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.

Charges Related to Embezzlement

Many crimes are related to embezzlement, and they are often charged at the same time, including:

  • Burglary (California Penal Code Section 459 PC): This occurs when you enter a residential or commercial building or room with the intent to commit a felony or theft once inside.
  • Forgery (California Penal Code Section 470 PC): This involves any of the following – signing someone else’s name, faking someone else’s handwriting, falsifying a legal document, or altering a document pertaining to money, finances, or property.
  • Misappropriation of Public Funds (California Penal Code Section 424 PC): This involves misuse of public funds that you were responsible for.
  • Embezzlement By a Public Officer (California Penal Code Section 504 PC): This involves the fraudulent use of public property or funds in a way inconsistent with official authority.
  • Receiving Stolen Property (California Penal Code Section 496(a) PC): This involves knowingly receiving stolen property or money, including that which has been obtained through embezzlement.

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 Penalties in California

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.

Other Potential Consequences of Embezzlement

In addition to incarceration, you may face the following consequences for an embezzlement conviction:

  • Formal (felony) or informal (misdemeanor/summary) probation
  • Community service
  • Financial restitution to the alleged victim(s)
  • Suspension or loss of professional licenses
  • Loss of job or difficulty finding employment
  • Citizenship or immigration issues

Defenses for Embezzlement in Folsom

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:

There Was No Fraudulent Use

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.

You Had a Good Faith Belief in the Right to Property

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.

You Did Not Have Intent to Deprive

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 Charge FAQs

What is the difference between embezzlement and theft?

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.

Can the property owner file a civil lawsuit against me for embezzlement?

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.

Can I get an embezzlement conviction expunged?

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.

Get Help from a Folsom Embezzlement Attorney

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.

Call 916-237-8270 today or fill out our secure contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.

Protect Your Future

Contact a Folsom Criminal Defense Attorney Today