Embezzlement is a type of Florida theft crime that occurs when someone in a position of trust takes money or assets that do not belong to him or her. Embezzlement is different from other theft crimes because the person is given legal access to the money or property, as opposed to someone who robbed a store or mugged a victim in the street. Embezzlement charges are brought when the person with legal access to the assets abuses his position and takes what does not legally belong to him.
The penalties for embezzlement will vary depending upon the amount of money or assets taken. Often, these penalties are very serious and include incarceration, restitution (returning the money or assets) and other consequences. If you have been accused of embezzlement and want to avoid conviction or plea bargain the charges down to receive a lesser criminal sentence, a Clearwater criminal defense attorney at Stechschulte Nell can help.
Embezzlement crimes occur in a variety of situations such as:
- When a caregiver takes money from an elderly or incapacitated person that he is supposed to be caring for.
- When someone managing a trust takes money or assets that should belong to the trust.
- When an employee takes money from his employer.
- When an accountant or lawyer takes money belonging to a client.
Any situation where a person is legally entrusted to safeguard money or assets that do not belong to him and then takes the money or assets can lead to embezzlement charges. If you are suspected of any form of financial fraud, immediately stop talking to your employer.
Penalties for Embezzlement
Penalties for embezzlement vary depending upon the amount of money or assets diverted. For instance:
- Someone who takes more than $100,000 in property or assets can be charged with a first-degree felony and face 30 years of prison.
- Someone who steals property or money valued between $20,000 and $100,000 can be charged with a second-degree felony and face 15 years of prison.
- Someone who steals property or money valued between $300 and $20,000 can be charged with a third degree felony and face five years of prison.
- Someone who steals property or money valued between $100 and $300 can be charged with a first degree misdemeanor and face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- Someone who steals money or assets valued below $300 can be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor and face up to 364 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Ben Stechschulte
Tampa criminal defense lawyer Ben Stechschulte can help you develop a defense in your embezzlement case. Successful defenses could lead to a not-guilty verdict and allow you to avoid jail time. We can also help you to negotiate a plea bargain to reduce the jail time or other penalties. Contact Stechschulte Nell today to schedule a consultation.