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What is Embezzlement And How Can A Lawyer Help Fight The Charge?

by J.D. Garrett on July 12, 2012

Embezzlement is considered a white collar crime and is a variant of a larceny, or theft, criminal charge. The legal definition of larceny is the “taking” of property of another with the intent to deprive that rightful owner of that possession permanently. The distinction between simple larceny and embezzlement is the “taking”. In embezzlement charges, the individual charged has been given lawful possession of the property, and is accused of converting the property to their personal use. Common examples include bank tellers or store clerks who are given lawful possession of money, which is the property of the bank or business owner, during regular business transactions. Other examples include employees who are given lawful possession of company property such as laptop computers or company vehicles.

In Virginia, embezzlement can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The difference is based on the value of the item in question. Any embezzlement of an item or items valued at less than $200 is a misdemeanor, an amount equal to or greater than $200 is charged as felony embezzlement.

A Virginia Beach criminal lawyer can help defend an embezzlement charge on several issues. The first is to challenge the valued amount and whether the charge should be a misdemeanor or felony. Many times, the facts may support the charge, but a criminal attorney may successfully have the matter reduced to a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor embezzlement conviction carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail as opposed to a maximum 20 years in prison for a felony conviction.

Another common area to explore is the circumstance of the alleged conversion. Many times, seasoned police detectives and skilled prosecutors mistake loss of an item or negligence in handling of an item as criminal embezzlement. Negligence, mistake or loss may impose civil liabilities on an individual, but they are NOT criminal actions. Before you make any statement to police or your employer, it is important to seek the advice of a Virginia Beach criminal defense attorney experienced in embezzlement defense to discuss how to discuss your case and circumstances.

If you have been charged with embezzlement in Virginia Beach, contact our office today, (757) 422-4646. Our Virginia Beach criminal defense lawyers will speak with you about your case free of charge 24/7/365.

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