Embezzlement is one of those offenses where you may have heard the term used in passing but have never been quite sure of exactly what it entails.
It falls under the same category as theft but it’s an offense that usually occurs during the conduct of employment and happens when an employee wrongly takes money or property that was entrusted to them.
Embezzlement can be a federal offense due to the fact that it involves a business relationship. It’s a conviction that will have serious consequences both legally and reputationally.
If you’re facing embezzlement allegations it’s important, therefore, to know what the prosecutor has to prove to find you guilty.
The burden on the prosecution is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt
The prosecutor in your case will have to show that you were entrusted with money or property and that you wrongly disposed of it for your own gain. They have to prove that you had the intention of permanently depriving its rightful owner of it.
Money or property can include items such as petty cash (and other monies) and computer or office equipment. Even if you had permission to have the items at one point, if you used them for something other than the purpose for which you were given them, this can be considered embezzlement.
There are defenses to an embezzlement charge
Many employees who have been charged with embezzlement offer the defense that they acted in good faith and that there was no intention to permanently deprive their employer of the property or money.
Depending on the value of the money or property concerned, an embezzlement conviction can result in a term of imprisonment. Putting forward your defense clearly and as early as possible in proceedings is essential in fighting the case against you.