Embezzlement Defense Attorney
– Douglas Herring
A bookkeeper for a rental company took cash payments for rents and application fees. She did not deposit the cash in the bank and created false records to disguise the missing money. Her theft of the cash was embezzlement.
Embezzlement is the crime of stealing the funds or property of a company, government, or some other position of trust. In New Jersey, however, embezzlement is not a separate crime. Law Enforcement usually charges a person with Theft by Unlawful Taking under New Jersey Statute 2C:20-3. Depending on the circumstances, a person could be charged with additional forms of theft, including Theft by Deception – N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4, Receiving Stolen Property – N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7, Failure to Make Required Disposition – N.J.S.A. 2C:20-9, or Official Misconduct – N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2.
While most theft crimes involve the taking of property without permission, embezzlement involves property that was legally possessed and then taken without permission. Most embezzlement occurs in a business, often accusing the most trusted employees.
For anyone charged with any theft, especially theft from a position of trust, the results may be disastrous. Most employers run background checks on anyone applying for a job and an embezzlement conviction will most likely lead to you being not hired.
Not only will you lose future employment, but a conviction can result in imprisonment and loss of your freedom. In addition to jail or prison time, a court will impose significant fines, and you will have a criminal record.
In addition, the Judge may use the fact that the fact that you used a position of trust in determining your sentence. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1a(4) a judge may count as an aggravating that “the defendant took advantage of a position of trust or confidence to commit the offense.”
DEGREE OF THEFT CRIMES
In most case, the degree of the theft crime is determined usually by the value of the stolen items. In most cases, theft constitutes a crime of the second degree if the amount involved is $75,000.00 or more. Theft is a crime of the third degree if the amount involved exceeds $500.00 but is less than $75,000.00. Theft is a crime of the fourth degree if the amount involved is at least $200.00 but does not exceed $500.00. Finally, the theft is a disorderly person’s offense if the value is less than $200.
In addition, the law allows that the value of separate thefts can be aggregated, or added together, to create a higher total theft. As long as the separate thefts were committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, the amounts may be added together to form a larger total amount. If a person deceived the victim on many occasions, all the money could be added together, which may be a higher degree of crime. In addition to the value, the law sets the degree of the theft crime on some types of property.
If you have been charged with a property theft or embezzlement-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of theft charges are governed by statutory law, only an experienced criminal defense attorney can tell you how strong the case against you appears to be, and how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse. An experienced lawyer can also advise you as to possible alternatives to criminal punishment. In many cases hiring a pre–filing theft crimes defense attorney in order to convince the prosecution to not file any charges or to file only disorderly person charges.