How to Build Your Defense to Embezzlement in New Haven

Posted on: October 22, 2018

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.

Embezzlement Defined

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
Often there is not an original plan to deprive the owner of their property permanently.  For example, the above-referenced bank teller may be taking money from the bank because they need to make rent, pay medical bills, or purchase food for the week, and they plan to pay back whatever they took once they receive their next paycheck.
Your embezzlement attorney will tell you that regardless of your intent to pay the money back, you have still committed a crime.

Consequences

There are pretty stiff consequences for the act of embezzlement in the state of Conneticut.  The severity of the sentence depends on how simple or complex the plan to embezzle was and how much money was taken.
The following guidelines are what your embezzlement attorney will go over with you during your initial consultation:
  • 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.
The amounts stated above do not just include currency, they also include any property valued at a certain price that falls into one of those price ranges.

Defenses to Embezzlement

Your embezzlement attorney will cover much of the above information in much greater detail.  In addition, the two of you will begin discussing how to defend against your charge of embezzlement.  Regardless of the amount, most defenses can be used to defend your position. Three primary defenses are used frequently when an embezzlement attorney is defending their clients. These defenses include:
  • 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
Although these are not automatic defenses that allow the district attorney to dismiss the charges, it is a reasonable rebuttal to the charges.  In addition, when you are working with an embezzlement attorney, you are more likely to be given a lighter sentence than if you were representing yourself.  A district attorney and embezzlement attorneys are used to negotiating plea deals and typically learn to work together amicably. 
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.

Request a appointment here: https://www.kclawyers.net or call Knight & Cerritelli at (203) 624-6115 for an appointment in our New Haven office.

NOTE: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.