Los Angeles Embezzlement Lawyers
Embezzlement in California is a Type of Theft Crime
Stealing from your employer is embezzlement, a crime in California. A serious white collar crime, embezzlement is typically carried out by an employee familiar with a company’s organization and financial accounts who uses that familiarity to exploit his or her knowledge for illegal financial gain. Should you be charged with embezzlement in California, you’ll need to immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer experienced in white collar crime so you don't make matters worse than they already are. An attorney familiar with embezzlement law, who has a record of negotiated reductions of embezzlement charges or even has had charges dismissed for other clients is a good choice for your representation.
California Laws that Govern a Crime of Embezzlement in California
Pursuant to PC 503 of the California Penal Code, embezzlement is “the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted.” Common situations considered embezzlement include:
- Credit card fraud.
- Falsification of invoices in an effort to conceal a theft.
- Falsification of accounts in an effort to conceal a theft.
- Any action in which steps are taken to falsify records to cover up the stealing of small amounts of money or property over time.
- Actions taken to cover up the theft of large amounts of money from a company or individual.
Profile of an Embezzler
Embezzlement cases differ from simple theft cases in that the relationship between the stealing party and the victim is one of trust and confidence. If no trusting relationship exists, then the stealing party will be prosecuted under California theft laws. For example, a relationship of trust can be construed to exist between a company and its in-house accountant, a doctor and his or her office manager, an investor and his investment agent, or an employer and his or her employee. Basically, for a prosecutor to gain a conviction of embezzlement against you, he or she must first prove the following.
- The defendant had a relationship with the victim/owner from whom money or property was stolen.
- The victim had previously entrusted the defendant with certain property or funds.
- The defendant misappropriated or transferred monies or property entrusted to him or her for personal use or benefit.
- The defendant specifically intended to deprive the victim of the theft of his or her property by fraudulently taking it as their own.
Embezzlement is usually discovered during an audit of a company, through a whistle-blower, or even by happenstance. Once the embezzlement is discovered, employees or individuals who handle the money of a company are usually immediately investigated. Employees most often targeted for investigation are within the accounting department of a company where embezzlement is suspected might include:
- Disgruntled employees.
- Employees experiencing financial difficulties.
- Employees with drug or alcohol problems.
- Employees with gambling problems.
- Employees who appear to be living beyond their means.
- Employees who never take a vacation.
Penalties for Embezzlement
A conviction of embezzlement can result in life-changing consequences. These consequences could include court mandated penalties as well as personal consequences like:
- Community service
- Up to six months in jail for a misdemeanor (a first offense involving less than $950)
- Heavy fines
- Up to three years in prison
- Loss of your reputation
- Loss of professional licenses
- Loss of future employment opportunities
The Manuelian Law Firm Handles White Collar Crimes like Embezzlement
If you have been arrested or accused of the crime of embezzlement in Los Angeles, you have a strong advocate in R.J. Manuelian. An experienced criminal defense attorney, R.J. will work hard to develop and prepare a solid defense strategy for your case. An aggressive attorney who has had success in the defense of those accused of embezzlement or theft-related matters, R.J. prides himself on diligently pursuing the best possible outcome for his clients. Contact him today at 213-401-2777 for a consultation about any embezzlement allegation you face.