Embezzlement is a serious “white collar” criminal offense. If you are convicted of this crime, not only will you face tough legal consequences but you will often also have to deal with the tough social stigma that often attaches to those found guilty of this charge. Since most employers today conduct background checks, a conviction of this offense will mean that you could be required to disclose this information on an employment application or to your employer.
If you have been arrested or are the suspected target of a California embezzlement case in our area, you will need the assistance of an Orange County white collar defense attorney to defend you.
What are California Embezzlement Laws?
Under California Penal Code 503, embezzlement is defined as “the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted.” For example, under California law, if you have stolen from your employer, altered invoices or receipts to cover up a theft, or used your employer’s credit card without its permission, you could be convicted for embezzlement.
Additionally, the crime of embezzlement has been incorporated under the state’s theft laws which are codified under California Penal Code 484. Depending upon the value of the property in which you are accused of stealing, the prosecutor could charge you with a felony or misdemeanor for this crime, which is also known as employee theft. Moreover, if the value of the property which you allegedly stole has a value of $950 or more, it is very probable the state will charge you with grand theft. On the other hand, if the value of the property has a value less than $950, then the state could attempt to have you convicted of a petty theft.
No matter what the specifics, you should carefully consider hiring our California embezzlement attorney to represent you on these charges. There are serious life-changing consequences if these types of cases are not fought meticulously and under some circumstances the accused could also face federal embezzlement charges. An attorney who represents clients facing an embezzlement conviction knows that it is often difficult for the state to prove its claim, and a strong defense can often be provided.
What are the possible punishments for Embezzlement?
There are various possible penalties for those convicted of embezzlement. Typically, the factors which affect the range of punishment will include the defendant’s prior criminal record and the value of the stolen property. Although jail and imprisonment are possible penalties which could be imposed, with the assistance from our California criminal defense attorney, it is also possible that you could receive a probationary sentence, ordered to pay restitution, or community service.
You will need to contact our office as soon as possible after you are arrested or are notified by federal law enforcement officers that you are a target in a suspected embezzlement case. It is also not advisable to speak with federal law enforcement officers prior to consulting with an attorney.
What defenses can I assert to fight the charges?
An embezzlement charge requires an in-depth investigation into the facts of the case. Often an employer who suspects that an employee has stolen from the company will set up a meeting to discuss the situation, normally by catching the suspected person off-guard. Similar to statements which you may provide to law enforcement officials, any statements you make to an employer could also be used against you in court.
Retaining an attorney who has experience and is familiar with employer tactics is essential. There are many defenses available for you to fight your charge. It is not unusual for a person to be falsely accused because someone else in the office or company is trying to cover up their own conduct.
Embezzlement Defense at the Law Office of Lauren K. Johnson
The Orange County criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Lauren K. Johnson is an experienced lawyer who provides representation to clients who have had been charged with embezzlement. By hiring our attorney, clients can have the comfort of knowing that the allegations against them will be carefully investigated and fought—even in seemingly difficult cases. If you or a family member has recently been charged with federal or state embezzlement, please contact our office today or send us a message online to explain your situation to our Orange County criminal law attorney immediately.