Embezzlement is the misappropriation of funds that belong to someone else but were entrusted in your care. This kind of embezzlement is sometimes referred to as employee theft because it generally consists of charges being brought against an employee, but anyone with a fiduciary (trustee) responsibility can have embezzlement charges brought against them. Embezzlement can be prosecuted as civil or criminal fraud, resulting in punitive fees and imprisonment. Courts tend to crack down on embezzlement crimes because they can have severe and long-lasting adverse effects on the people who entrusted their finances to the alleged offender.
Embezzlement crimes can vary in severity and scope, as can the various sentencing levels. However, because of the nature of these crimes, the possible sentences are always severe. At John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm, we have skillfully handled a large variety of embezzlement cases and know what it takes to build a strong defense. Feel confident in your legal representation and contact John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm today.
5 Possible Defense Strategies for Embezzlement Charges
Embezzlement is often considered more serious than general theft because it involves violating the trust granted to the individual who steals the money. Even if the value of the funds someone steals is less than $1,000 because of the violation of trust, they may face tens of thousands of dollars in damages and find their careers and reputations ruined. Having a strong defense and strong representation is critical to a favorable outcome. Five possible defenses for embezzlement charges include:
1. Insufficient Evidence
A common defense in embezzlement cases is establishing that there is not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged offender committed the theft. Generally, this means proving that there is not a strong enough paper trail to connect the theft of the money to the offender.
Duress usually refers to a person feeling forced to embezzle the funds because they’re at risk of significant loss unless they embezzle the funds. For instance, if you are at risk of losing your job or are being blackmailed, these scenarios could be seen as instances of duress. Your defense attorney must prove that the crime would not have occurred without the situational pressure and the duress you were facing.
Entrapment occurs when the government coerces an innocent person into embezzling funds that would not have otherwise taken of their own free will. This defense must prove that you would not have committed the crime without coercion.
4. Absence of Intent
Embezzlement as a crime depends on the intent to commit the crime. The key to this defense is to prove that you had reason to believe the assets belong to you. It proves that you did not intend to commit a crime, but it occurred because you genuinely thought those assets were your property.
5. Incapacity or Insanity
Often, it’s easier to prove incapacity than insanity. A good defense proves that the embezzlement occurred when you were mentally incapacitated, essentially stating that you did not have the mental capacity to make decisions. A good example of incapacity is a crime committed while the individual was heavily medicated at the time and could not think clearly. This defense relies on the fact that you would not have committed the crime if you had full mental capacity.
Work With a Skilled Embezzlement Defense Attorney
Embezzlement charges are serious, and it’s critical to have an experienced legal counsel on your side to guide you through the process and advise you on the best defense strategy based on the specific circumstances of your case. Investigators trained in embezzlement cases are skilled in building their cases and ensuring a successful prosecution. Ensure you have someone equipped with the skills and knowledge to build a strong defense by contacting John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm.
Attorney Eric G. Johnson is a dedicated and seasoned defense attorney that can ensure you feel confident in your legal counsel. Eric is committed to his clients and building a defense that achieves the best possible results. Schedule a consultation by contacting us through our contact form or by calling (318) 377-1555.