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Pennsylvania Embezzlement Lawyer
Embezzlement (desfalco en español) is a specific type of theft. Typically, embezzlement is defined as the act of taking money or property that belongs to someone else that you have been entrusted with. In Pennsylvania, there are a variety of theft crimes you may be charged with if you embezzle money. A Pennsylvania embezzlement lawyer can provide you with information on what penalties you face and options for trying to reduce those penalties or avoid conviction.
Embezzlement Charges in Pennsylvania
Embezzlement usually involves someone who has a fiduciary duty taking the money or assets that he is supposed to be responsible for protecting. A fiduciary is entrusted with managing someone else’s property and is obligated by law to act in good faith to further the best interests of the property’s owner. Examples of embezzlement where one may wish to contact a Pennsylvania embezzlement lawyer include:
- An employee taking money from an employer.
- An employer illegally diverting funds from employee pension funds or misusing company assets for personal gain.
- A trustee stealing money or property from a trust and depriving the beneficiary of its value.
- An investment manager, pension fund manager, or accountant who takes client funds.
Laws Pertaining to Embezzlement
Because embezzlement takes many forms, there is no one particular law in Pennsylvania that makes this crime illegal. Instead, a person who is believed to have embezzled money may be charged with a variety of theft offenses including:
- Theft by deception: Using dishonest or fraudulent means to obtain or take assets, such as creating or reinforcing false impressions, failure to correct false impressions, or preventing someone else from getting information he needs to accurately judge a transaction. (Pennsylvania Code Section 3922).
- Theft by extortion: Obtaining assets by threatening to commit a crime, expose a sensitive secret, take or withhold official action, start a boycott, strike or other collective action, or inflict a variety of other types of harm (Pennsylvania Code Section 3923).
- Theft due to failure to failure to make required disposition after receiving funds: Obtaining assets that you have a legal agreement to pass on to someone else and instead keeping that property for yourself. (Pennsylvania Code Section 3927).
When you are charged with these or other theft offenses, the penalty you face will generally be dictated by the value of the embezzled property and assets. For example:
- If you steal items worth less than $50, you face a maximum one year jail sentence.
- If you steal items between $50 and $200, you face up to two years of incarceration.
- If you steal items valued at $200 to $2,000, you face up to five years in prison.
- If you steal items worth $2,000 or more, you face up to seven years in prison.
- If you embezzle or steal items during a man made, natural or war-caused disaster, you face up to 10 years in prison.
- If you breach certain fiduciary duties, you face up to five years prison time.
Because of the serious nature of the penalties, it is important to understand your rights when accused of embezzlement. A seasoned Pennsylvania embezzlement lawyer will be able to explain the distinctions between these various offenses and work to build a defense that is suited to your specific needs and circumstances.
How a Pennsylvania Embezzlement Lawyer Can Help
If you are accused of embezzling money, a criminal defense attorney can provide you with assistance negotiating a plea bargain or raising defenses. A Pennsylvania embezzlement lawyer could help you to:
- Raise questions about guilt. Unless a prosecutor has proven embezzlement beyond a reasonable doubt, there should be no conviction.
- Argue entrapment. You should not be convicted if a government agent compelled or enticed you into committing a crime.
- Duress: If you were forced into embezzlement because of a reasonable fear for your safety or the safety of others, this could be a possible defense.
- Lack of intent: If you did not mean to participation in a deception or to misappropriate assets, you may not be guilty of embezzlement.
Understanding your legal rights is important when you have been charged with any crime. Contact a Pennsylvania embezzlement lawyer today to learn more about your options if you have been accused of embezzlement.