Mercer County Embezzlement Attorney

Embezzlement was an offense defined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Moore v. the United States (1895). It is a crime of theft that is committed by someone serving in a fiduciary or other entrusted role. Fiduciaries are often referred to as trustees, administrators, executors, and other terms. This “fraudulent appropriation of property” is commonly executed by a staff member in the business or government community.

The offense is committed with intent (knowingly) and it deprives the rightful owner of the property. According to New Jersey statutes, an act that deprives involves taking, concealing, or disposing of property, which is anything with value. Common examples of items stolen include money, personal items, and others that are tangible or intangible.

The offense is classified within the broad category of “white-collar” crime that does not involve violence. Other common examples include identity theft, credit card fraud, and others that are motivated by financial gain. According to the U.S. Justice Department, an estimated 5,700 prosecutions for white-collar crimes occurred in 2019.

Second-Degree Theft Offenses

Embezzlement is charged as a second-degree offense when the value of the property stolen is $75,000 or more. When the perpetrator is someone in a fiduciary role, the threshold is reduced to $50,000 or more.

Other Lesser Degrees of Theft Offenses

Third-degree offenses involve a total property value ranging from $500 to $75,000. Third-degree charges apply to thefts of less than $50,000 committed by a fiduciary. Fourth-degree offenses involve property valued from $200 to $500, with all others being a disorderly person offense.

Types of Property Subject to Enhanced Penalties for Theft Offenses

Theft of certain property will result in the charges being “upgraded” by a level of severity. Examples include firearms, controlled substances, blank prescriptions, and others.

Level of Criminal Offense

Maximum Incarceration

Maximum Fine

Second Degree

10 years


Third Degree

5 years


Fourth Degree

18 months


Disorderly Person Offense

6 months


Possible Defenses

Several primary affirmative defenses may be employed in New Jersey theft cases including: 

  • The defendant was unaware that the property was owned by someone else
  • The defendant believed he committed no wrongdoing based on the nature of his employment or role that allowed for the property to be appropriated in the manner that it was
  • Involved property that was up for sale and the defendant intended to pay for it or believed that the owner would have consented his obtaining the property
  • In most cases, criminal charges for theft do not apply to spouses

Venues for Criminal Cases in Mercer County

Mercer County is home to roughly 13 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.

Mercer County Criminal Courthouse 
400 South Warren St. 
Trenton, NJ 08608 

Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney

Individuals that are convicted of serious theft offenses such as embezzlement face potentially life-altering penalties. These cases require seasoned defense counsel that is familiar with this area of practice. Contact the Lento Law Firm today for a case evaluation at (888) 535-3686.

​​​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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