Embezzlement is a term you have probably read in the newspaper or heard on a crime drama on television, but few know what the crime actually entails. It is actually a fairly common form of white-collar crime, which is taken very seriously in Connecticut.
Unlike theft, which usually includes stealing property without an owners knowledge, embezzlement involves the owner instilling trust in the offender and then that trust is breached. The offender ends up wrongfully keeping the property for themselves.
Before we start discussing what defenses your embezzlement attorney can use to properly plead your case, we first outline just exactly what embezzlement is under Connecticut law.
The act of embezzling can range from taking a small amount of money to millions of dollars. The following examples provide a great illustration in order to better understand how embezzlement is applied in the real world.
- Bank teller taking a customers deposit for themselves instead of following the proper deposit procedure
- CPA falsifying accounting records
- Payroll manager creating fake pay roll accounts and makes accounts for his family members and an additional one for himself
- Creation of fake invoices that you use company money to pay yourself for
- Taking from petty cash, even if it is just twenty dollars
- A caregiver writing checks to themselves from their patient’s bank account
- If the amount stolen was under $500, it is considered a misdemeaner, subject to three months in jail and a fine of $500
- $500 – $1000, misdemeanor, subject to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine
- $1,000 – $2,000, misdemeanor, subject to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine
- $2,000 – $10,000 OR the victim was a member of a class considered disabled or elderly, felony, subject to ten years in prison, and $5,000 fine
- $10,000 – $20,000, felony, subject to ten years prison and a $10,000 fine
- More than $20,000 or Public Property valued at $2,000 or more, felony, subject to twenty years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Defenses to Embezzlement
- Good faith belief (with evidence) that the property was yours
- The defendant had legal authority, such as a power of attorney or trustee position, to remove or take the property
- The defendant was not aware that they had to return the property to the previous owner
Being charged with embezzlement does not have to be a stressful event if you are represented by an expert embezzlement attorney. A smoother process involves an embezzlement attorney properly and representing your interests and case.
NOTE: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.