When you are facing accusations of embezzlement, you need to understand your rights and the various options that may be available to you. Defenses may apply in your case that could result in the reduction or dismissal of charges against you in appropriate situations. A Montgomery County embezzlement lawyer may be able to investigate your case and work to negotiate a more favorable resolution of embezzlement and related charges.
Entrapment by law enforcement officials, fear for your safety and that of your family members, or a lack of intent all may be potential defenses in your case. Without legal advice, you may not be able to avail yourself of these defenses. Consulting a skilled criminal defense lawyer about your case may be highly beneficial to you.
Pennsylvania law contains no specific embezzlement offense; instead, law enforcement officials charge embezzlement as a form of theft. Generally, embezzlement occurs when individuals wrongfully take or use property or funds that others have entrusted to them for their financial benefit.
The critical element in embezzlement is that the accused individuals had lawful possession of the property or funds belonging to others; however, they did not have the authority to use the property or funds to benefit themselves. In many cases, embezzlement arises from the position or job of the accused individuals to the extent that they have the authority to possess funds belonging to others.
Bank officials, financial advisors, investment professionals, trust officers, employees of businesses that handle financial transactions, and executors of estates all have fiduciary duties to safeguard funds or property adequately. When they breach those duties, they could face embezzlement charges.
Pennsylvania law outlines various types of theft that might qualify as embezzlement. For example, theft by deception, theft by extortion, and theft by failing to make a required disposition after receiving funds all are typical examples of offenses that generally could encompass embezzlement. These offenses all involve individuals who are in positions of trust in which they can take advantage of the use of the funds of others for their monetary gain.
Embezzlement or theft crimes may result in felony or misdemeanor charges, depending on the circumstances. As with theft charges, embezzlement of $2,000 or less under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3903 may constitute a misdemeanor charge, whereas embezzlement of more than $2,000 worth of funds or property could result in felony charges. Since any embezzlement charge could result in harsh repercussions, consulting an embezzlement lawyer in Montgomery County for advice may be useful.
Furthermore, for large-scale embezzlement schemes, the potential charges and resulting punishments are even more severe. If the property or funds embezzled is worth more than $100,000, the charges may be as follows:
As a result, felony embezzlement charges can result in anywhere from seven to 20 years in prison and fines ranging from $15,000 to $25,000. An embezzlement attorney in Montgomery County may be necessary to avoid or minimize these potentially long prison sentences and thousands in fines and restitution.
Although embezzlement offenses are devoid of violence and physical harm to others, these so-called white-collar crimes still can have very significant consequences that may impact you for the remainder of your life. If the charges are job-related, you likely will no longer be able to work in your chosen industry, you may lose professional licenses, and may be ineligible for many careers in the future.
A Montgomery County embezzlement lawyer may be able to look at your situation and help devise the most reasonable course of action in your case. Embezzlement charges by no means guarantee that you will end up with a criminal conviction on your record. However, seeking legal advice in this situation may place you in a better position to avoid a conviction, seek a reduction in charges, or negotiate an alternative plan to resolve the charges. With legal help, you may be more likely to achieve a favorable outcome in your case.