Virginia Beach DHS Employee Charged With Embezzlement Had Felony Record

by J.D. Garrett on August 27, 2013

Many government agencies are established to help vulnerable community members; the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services is one such agency. Recently, a Department of Human Services employee with a felony record was charged with embezzling money from an elderly woman.

Embezzlement in Virginia?

Pilot Online reports that Department of Human Services employee Karen Brewers had a felony record that the department did not know about when it hired her. Ms. Brewers previously worked for another Virginia-based social services department, where she was found to have embezzled money in the early 1980’s. For the embezzlement of $5,458, she plead guilty to three felony charges, and was sentenced to four years in prison, suspended with the exception of nine months. She was also required to return $3,010.40 of the money that she had obtained.

This year, according to another report, Ms. Brewers allegedly embezzled from a 71-year-old woman. Marian Byers went to the Virginia Beach Department of Health Services earlier this summer to seek assistance for her husband, who currently resides in a nursing home. Authorities allege that Ms. Brewers was the Medicaid eligibility worker on Ms. Byers’ case. Ms. Brewers allegedly took $3,500 cash from Ms. Byers for a bill, and implied to her that she would be reimbursed. After Ms. Byers talked with some friends, she realized that Ms. Brewers had conned her out of her money. Ms. Byers went back for the reimbursement, and Ms. Brewers informed her that it was gone. The Pilot Online report notes that people that work in Ms. Brewers’ position do not handle money.

Virginia Criminal Law

Ms. Brewers now faces a felony embezzlement charge for her alleged role in the scam against Ms. Byers. Under Virginia law, 18.2-111 and related statutes, embezzlement and larceny can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the amount obtained. A person can be charged with felony embezzlement if he or she embezzles any amount over $200.

Embezzlement and larceny differ in that a person commits embezzlement when he or she receives money from another person (generally in a business relationship) and he or she converts that property to his or her own. Larceny is a crime in which a person takes property of another. In the case of Ms. Byers and Ms. Brewers, Ms. Byers gave Ms. Brewers $3,500 for a bill, but Ms. Brewers allegedly took all of the money and converted it to her own use. Under Virginia law, Ms. Brewers could face jail time or a heavy fine, or both, if she is convicted.

It is important to note that not all embezzlement cases go to a criminal trial. Sometimes an embezzlement charge can be resolved outside the criminal system, or, by negotiating with the prosecutor. If you have been charged with a crime, you should immediately seek out the assistance of an experienced criminal law attorney. An experienced attorney can help you understand the charges against you, can negotiate on your behalf, and can defend you in court. Contact Garrett Law Group, PLC, today for a confidential consultation.

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