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Embezzlement and the risk of penalties

Embezzlement is a crime that takes place when assets like property or money are taken by a person in a position of power and trust. For instance, a bank's manager manages money, and if he or she was stealing it, he or she would be embezzling funds.

The most common kind of embezzling is called accounting embezzlement. With this kind of embezzlement, the person stealing funds adjusts accounting records to hide the withdrawals or transfers. The person performing the embezzlement obtains possession of the property through legal means, but when he or she takes it for personal use, it becomes a crime.

It's most often found that embezzlement occurs in a corporate field. Someone may skim money, which is when small amounts are taken over time, or he or she could choose to steal a large amount at once. There are many methods people can use to embezzle funds, from billing customers incorrectly, paying payroll to fake employees and accounts or by falsifying records.

If you're accused of embezzlement, you need to know that you can defend yourself. The prosecution must be able to show that you received property through a fiduciary relationship, transferred it and that you did so willingly and intentionally to benefit yourself in some way.

If the prosecution can prove all these factors, then you may be convicted of embezzlement. However, if you can disprove any of the above factors, then you may be able to win your case and walk away without any kind of penalties. There are, of course, other alternatives, like plea agreements, which you can work out with the prosecution with the help of your attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Embezzlement," accessed Jan. 01, 2016

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