The crime of embezzlement was defined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Moore v. the United States (1895). Embezzlement is a theft offense that is differentiated because it is committed by someone serving in a fiduciary or other entrusted role. This “fraudulent appropriation of property” is commonly perpetrated by an employee in the private sector or government.
Embezzlement is knowingly committed by depriving the owner of their property. New Jersey statute explains that the act of depriving involves taking, withholding, or disposing of property, which is something that has value. Property may include money, real estate, and tangible or intangible personal items.
Embezzlement is categorized as an act of “white-collar” crime. These are non-violent offenses that are generally motivated by financial gain. Other common examples include identity theft and credit card fraud. The U.S. Justice Department estimated there were approximately 5,700 prosecutions for white-collar crimes in 2019.
Grading of Theft Offenses (2C:20-2)
The severity or level of an embezzlement offense is based on the value of the property associated with the theft. Second-degree offenses are punishable by imprisonment for five to ten years and a maximum fine of $150,000 and involve the following:
- The total value involved in the theft exceeded $75,000
- The stolen property was acquired through means of extortion
- The stolen property was over one kilogram of a controlled substance(s)
- The property was some type of government benefit with a value exceeding $75,000
- The crime was committed by a fiduciary and the value exceeded $50,000.
Third-degree offenses are punishable by three to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000 and have the following characteristics:
- The value of the theft is between $50,000 and $75,000
- Involves property including a firearm, aircraft, horse, motor vehicle, or domestic animal
- The stolen item was a controlled substance in a quantity of less than one kilogram
- The property is physically taken from someone's person
- The crime is committed by a person in a position of trust (fiduciary) and the total value is under $50,000.
- The theft involved threats or intimidation that do not constitute extortion
- The stolen property was some form of public record, property intended for research, blank prescription pad, an access-control device, or ingredient for manufacturing methamphetamine
- If the stolen property is a type of government benefit with a value exceeding $50,000
Fourth-degree offenses are punishable by a maximum of 18 months of incarceration and a $10,000 fine for thefts valued from $200 to $500.
Disorderly person offenses are punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for thefts valued at less than $200.
Venues for Criminal Cases in Camden County
Camden County has roughly 35 Municipal Courts operated at the city or township level. Municipal Courts in New Jersey have limited jurisdiction, handling only disorderly person offenses, motor vehicle and parking violations, and local ordinance offenses. More serious criminal cases at transferred to the Superior Court at the county level.
Camden County Hall of Justice
101 S. 5th St.
Camden, NJ 08103
New Jersey Defense Lawyer for Embezzlement Charges
Those who are convicted of serious theft offenses such as embezzlement may face significant penalties. Joseph D. Lento is an attorney that understands how to represent clients facing these allegations by employing aggressive strategies of defense. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for more information.