What Is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is a form of theft that involves the fraudulent conversion of another person's money or property for personal use or gain. This crime can take many different forms, including misappropriating funds held by an individual or business, diverting money from legitimate transactions, and defrauding investors through false accounting practices. Embezzlement is a type of white-collar crime that differs from regular theft or fraud due to the authority an accused is given over the money or property in question.
The accused has the authority to hold or use the money or property in question in some way for its rightful owner before embezzlement occurs. An individual is guilty of embezzlement when he or she exceeds the authority given to hold or use property or money for a specific purpose and instead takes the money or property to keep or use for himself or herself. If you are facing an investigation for federal embezzlement, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.
What Are the Different Types of Federal Embezzlement?
There are several different types of embezzlement that are prohibited by federal law; the most common types of federal embezzlement include:
- 18 USC 641 - Embezzlement of public money, property, or records
- 18 USC 642 – Embezzlement of tools and materials for counterfeiting purposes
- 18 USC 643 – Embezzlement of public money by federal employees
- 18 USC 644 – Embezzlement of public funds that are not owed to the individual
- 18 USC 656 – Embezzlement of money by an employee of a banking institution
These are just some of the types of activities that are prohibited by federal embezzlement laws.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Federal Embezzlement?
The type of money or property taken and the amount taken determine what level of federal criminal charge an individual will face. Embezzlement can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony at the federal level. For example, under 18 USC 641, if an individual embezzles money or anything else of value from the federal government valued at more than $1,000, then the individual will be charged with a felony and can face up to 10 years in federal prison and fines up to $250,000. If the individual embezzles money or anything else of value from the federal government valued at $1,000 or less, then the individual will be charged with a misdemeanor and can face up to one year in jail, along with a fine of up to $100,000.
Under 18 USC 642, an individual accused of embezzling tools or materials to be used for counterfeiting purposes will be charged with a federal felony regardless of the value of the items embezzled. This would result in a potential penalty of up to ten years in federal prison, along with a fine of up to $250,000. Make sure you understand the potential penalties you are facing if you are charged with a federal embezzlement crime.
What Are Some Defenses for Embezzlement?
There are a few different defenses that are available if you are charged with a federal embezzlement crime. The prosecutor has to prove that you had the intent to exceed your authority with regard to the money or property and that you intended to keep it for yourself or use it in some way that was not permitted. Embezzlement is a specific intent crime; this means that you must have a criminal intent to specifically deprive the owner of his or her property or money. A major defense is that of mistake. If you mistakenly took the money or property without an intent to permanently deprive the owner of it, then you did not commit an embezzlement crime.
Other common defenses to embezzlement include a lack of evidence or Constitutional violations by law enforcement in acquiring evidence. If the police illegally obtained evidence against you, then a motion can be filed to suppress the evidence and potentially dismiss the case. Make sure that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to zero in on what type of defense is most appropriate in your case. It is also important to speak with an attorney who has experience defending federal criminal cases. The defenses available are based on the facts and circumstances of your case.
In What Court Will Your Case Be Heard?
If your case arises in New Jersey, then your federal case will be heard in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. There is one federal district court in the state of New Jersey, so all cases will be processed there for any action at the trial level. Any appeals from this court can be filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Any appeals from the Federal Court of Appeals go to the United States Supreme Court.
How Hiring an Experienced Attorney Can Help
If you are facing federal criminal charges, it is important to have an attorney who has experience in defending federal criminal cases. An experienced attorney can help you understand your case and what your best options are. This information can help you decide whether to fight the case or work out a deal with prosecutors. Before you decide what to do, make sure that you are making informed decisions regarding the charges against you. If you have questions, then call us at Lento Law today.
Why Hiring Lento Law Is the Right Choice
If you are being investigated or prosecuted for federal embezzlement in New Jersey, then it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney immediately. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped people defend countless criminal charges in several jurisdictions. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring Lento Law is the right choice to help defend your federal criminal case.