If you’ve been arrested for embezzlement, there are a few things you should know as you prepare for your defense. Embezzlement is the unlawful removal of property or funds that belonged to someone else, but for which you were entrusted with maintaining. Many people who are arrested for embezzlement are those who work in the corporate world or some type of position where money is entrusted into their care. And while not everyone who is arrested and charged with embezzlement is innocent, there are instances where the person entrusted with the funds did not realize his use of the funds, or how he otherwise handled the money, was actually illegal.
In order to be charged with embezzlement, the following elements must be noted:
- The property or funds were entrusted to your care.
- You fraudulently transferred the property or funds to yourself for your own use or benefit.
- You intended to deprive the owner of its benefit or use.
Trust: People entrust property to other individuals all the time. When a bookkeeper, office manager or cashier is entrusted with business funds, it is expected that the individuals will properly deposit and oversee the funds properly.
Fraud: In order for you to be found guilty of embezzlement, the prosecution must prove that you used the property or funds in a fraudulent way to benefit yourself and cause the owner of the property a loss. A loss is when you take advantage of the property owner by using that property for your own benefit.
Intent to Deprive the Owner: This element involves the intent which is a crucial element in most criminal cases. Your intent to deprive the property owner of his property is when you use the property to benefit yourself, such as depositing funds into your own account or otherwise using the money to pay for your own personal expenses.
Defenses for Embezzlement
Part of a criminal defense attorney’s job in defending embezzlement is demonstrating you had reason to believe that the property was yours. To do this, you must show that:
- You did not use clandestine means to take the property but did so publicly or openly.
- You did not take the property because of a debt owed to you by the property owner.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with embezzlement, it’s best to contact an experienced attorney who has the knowledge and respect of the law surrounding white collar crimes defense in Phoenix AZ. Embezzlement is a difficult crime to defend, so there’s no doubt you need someone on your side who can help you sort through the process. Whether you were confused about your role in the management of the funds you were entrusted to oversee, or you made some type of bookkeeping error, an experienced lawyer can review your case and help advise you accordingly, so that your future is not in jeopardy.