Embezzlement is a kind of property theft. It occurs when a defendant, who was entrusted to manage or monitor someone else’s money or property, steals all or part of that money or property for the defendant’s personal gain. The key is that the defendant had legal access to another’s money or property, but not legal ownership of it. Taking the money or property for the defendant’s own gain is stealing; when combined with the fact that this stealing was also a violation of a special position of trust, you have the unique crime of embezzlement.
To secure a conviction for the felony offense of embezzlement in Virginia, the government must prove that: (1) the defendant wrongfully and fraudulently converted, used, concealed or disposed of the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of the use thereof, (2) the property had been entrusted by someone else to the defendant by virtue of the defendant’s employment, office or position, and (3) the value of the property was $200 or more.
If the value of the property is less than $200, the defendant can be convicted of embezzlement as a misdemeanor.
There is no embezzlement when property is taken under a bona fide claim of right; that is, when the person appropriating the property has a good faith belief as to some right to the property.
Embezzlement charges span a large range of situations including:
- Failing to return an item that was lent to you
- Using a company credit card to make personal purchases
- Vendor kickback agreements
- Ponzi schemes
At Gore & Kuperman, we understand how embarrassed our clients can feel when accused of misuse of another person’s personal property or money. With that understanding, our seasoned criminal defense attorneys provide comprehensive representation to our clients, looking into possible defenses to an embezzlement charge and work to limit the impact the charge has on their lives.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding an embezzlement allegation, we may be able to prove a number of things to defeat the charge.
- Maybe you were falsely accused and someone else within the organization is guilty of embezzlement
- Maybe you didn’t intend to steal the item or money.
- Maybe you thought you were given the item and were allowed to do with it what you pleased.
We understand that an allegation of embezzlement may have a negative impact on your life. We know that if the situation involved company property or funds that a mere allegation may prevent you from obtaining employment in the future. The criminal defense lawyers at Gore & Kuperman are committed to exploring all possible defenses and working with you to ensure your name and record remains clear.
In addition to the personal consequences associated with an embezzlement allegation, an embezzlement conviction can have very serious consequences. You may be forced to pay restitution to the victim, pay criminal court fees and may face time in custody. None of these possibilities should be taken lightly.
As you can see, embezzlement cases involve a complicated set of case specific facts and very serious personal and criminal consequences. Each case needs a personalized evaluation to determine the appropriate way to move forward with a defense.