Theft takes many forms. It can be direct, such as in a robbery or purse-snatching, and it can also be more discreet. Whit-collar theft takes place in transactions. It too can be more direct, like stealing money directly from someone’s bank account.
One form of white-collar crime, however, is more subtle. It is often harder to detect, and offenders can sometimes get away with the crime for years. This is the crime of embezzlement.
Embezzlement occurs when one person entrusts another with their money, and that second person quietly steals from the first.
Embezzlement is often charged as a federal crime, but each state has its own laws against the offense.
Nevada takes embezzlement seriously, and penalties are steep.
Embezzling $100,000 or More:
Category B felony; prison between 1 and 20 years; restitution; fines up to $15,000
Embezzling Between $25,000 and $99,999:
Category B felony; prison between 1 and 10 years; restitution; fines up to $10,000
Embezzling Between $5,000 and $24,999:
Category C felony; prison between 1 and 5 years; restitution; fines up to $10,000
Embezzling Between $1,200 and $4,999:
Category D felony; prison between 1 and 4 years; restitution; fines up to $5,000
Embezzling Less than $1,200:
Misdemeanor; jail up to 6 months; restitution; fines up to $1,000
If you’ve been accused of this crime, talk to an attorney right away. Here are some defenses you can strategize together.
Debunk the Evidence
In any criminal charge, it’s important to take a long, hard look at the evidence against you. Remember, a jury should be convinced of your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” so any flaw could help your case.
Embezzlement is a complicated crime, and that fact can work in your favor. Just building a case can take months, and you can use that time to gather your own evidence, helping prove that you’ve been misunderstood. Something that looks like embezzlement could be completely innocent. Make sure you have an attorney who understands these complexities and can use them in your favor.
Claim a Lack of Intent
Intent, or the willingness to commit a crime, is a huge component in any criminal case. Generally, people don’t want to convict someone who made a simple mistake.
Even the best financial professionals have a bad day. When you’ve been under stress, such as in a divorce or the death of a loved one, you can easily make mistakes in a complex, high-pressure job. It’s entirely possible to illegally move money without realizing it.
Maybe you did do something willingly, knowing that you would reverse this action later. In the complex world of finance, it’s often necessary to move money around. Perhaps you moved money to a personal account for safekeeping, completely expecting to move it elsewhere. Before you get the chance, someone finds that money under your name, and you’re being accused of a crime.
Explain that You Were Coerced
We all have the freedom to make our own choices, but we also have authority figures who have a lot of power over us. If your employer or manager orders you to do something illegal, it can be hard to say no. Courts can be sympathetic to this power dynamic.
Operating under duress can be more harrowing. Financial experts aren’t always aware of their client’s backgrounds, and they can find themselves working for professional criminals. If someone forced you to commit a crime by threatening you or your family, you may be able to use this fact to avoid criminal sentencing.
Our firm is here to help those accused of embezzlement. If you need help, contact us today by calling (775) 502-1575 or filling out our online contact form.