Cape May County Embezzlement Attorney

In the 1930s, the FBI coined the term “white-collar crime” to generally describe non-violent theft or fraud offenses that are often committed by individuals in the business or government sectors. Embezzlement is committed by a fiduciary, which is an individual or entity acting on behalf of another party for the management of assets. Common examples include credit card fraud, identity theft, embezzlement, and others.

Understanding Embezzlement?

New Jersey's Criminal Statutes do not contain any specific reference to the crime of embezzlement, rather the charges are filed using general theft statutes. According to the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Resource Manual, the crime is an act of fraud or property misappropriation committed by a perpetrator involving “property that has been entrusted, or into whose hands it has lawfully come.”

Key Elements of the Offense

Crimes of embezzlement have the following commonalities:

  • It is committed by someone in a position of trust, such as a fiduciary
  • The offender obtained access to the property by “virtue of his or her employment”
  • The property was fraudulently misappropriated for their use
  • These acts are committed knowingly (with intent)

Degrees or Levels of the Offenses

The crime of embezzlement may be a second-degree offense if the value of the property is $75,000 or more. When this crime is committed by a fiduciary, this threshold is reduced to $50,000 or more. It is charged as third-degree when the value of the property involved is between $500 and $75,000. Third-degree charges apply to someone in a fiduciary role when the value is less than $50,000. Fourth-degree offenses involve those valued from $200 to $500, with all others being a disorderly person offense.

Enhanced Penalties for Theft Offenses

New Jersey's theft offenses are subject to “enhancement” that upgrades the severity when certain circumstances or types of property are involved. Examples include firearms, controlled substances, blank prescriptions, and others.

Level of Criminal Offense

Maximum Incarceration

Maximum Fine

Second Degree

10 years

Up to $150,000

Third Degree

5 years

Up to $15,000

Fourth Degree

18 months

Up to $10,000

Disorderly Person Offense

6 months

Up to $1,000

What are the Common Defenses Employed?

There are several affirmative defenses specified in the statute. The first is an assertion that the accused was unaware that the property involved belonged to someone else. A defendant may contend that they believed that their actions were rightful and within their scope of normal duty or that the owner would have given consent to the acts.

Defendants may state that the property was up for sale and they intended to compensate the owner for it. State statute does not allow for criminal theft charges to be brought among marries parties.

Venues for Criminal Cases in Cape May County

Cape May County has roughly 16 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.

Cape May County Courthouse 
9 N. Main St. 
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210

Effective Defense Representation for Theft Offenses in New Jersey

Joseph D. Lento is a seasoned defense lawyer that has spent many years defending allegations of embezzlement and other theft offenses. He closely reviews the evidence and creates a broad strategy of defense. Please call (888) 535-3686 for a case consultation.

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today

When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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