Understand Your Rights When Charged With Embezzlement
You are a financial advisor in charge of managing an investor’s financial account. All of a sudden after a disagreement between yourself and the investor, you are being arrested for embezzlement.
In California, the crime of embezzlement is defined in Penal Code section 503. Penal Code section 503 defines Embezzlement as the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been “intrusted”.
In order to be guilty of embezzlement, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- An owner [or the owner’s agent] entrusted (his/her) property to the defendant;
- The owner [or owner’s agent] did so because (he/she) trusted the defendant;
- The defendant fraudulently (converted/used) that property for (his/her) own benefit; and
- When the defendant (converted/used) the property, (he/she) intended to deprive the owner of (it/its use).
A person acts fraudulently when he or she takes undue advantage of another person or causes a loss to that person by breaching a duty, trust or confidence.
For petty theft, the property taken can be of any value, no matter how slight.
An agent is someone to whom the owner has given complete or partial authority and control over the owner’s property.
Sentences For Embezzlement
Embezzlement can be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending upon the amount of loss. If the amount of loss is less than $950 then the crime of embezzlement is punishable as a misdemeanor. If the amount of loss is greater than $950 then the crime of embezzlement is punishable as a felony. As a misdemeanor, a person may be fined one thousand dollars $1000 or face up to six (6) months in a county jail or both. As a felony, a person may face up to one (1) year imprisonment in a county jail or up to 3 years in prison under California Penal Code § 1170(h)(5)(a). With any conviction for embezzlement a defendant may ordered to pay actual restitution to the alleged victim.
Defending Yourself Against Embezzlement Charges
There are defenses available to you if you have been convicted of embezzlement. For example, you may have taken the property with the good faith belief that you were entitled to use the property. [Cal. Pen. Code § 511]. The skilled San Jose criminal defense lawyers at Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law can help you present a good-faith defense, even if your good faith belief was mistaken or unreasonable.
Contact us today by email or by calling 866-477-0965 so that we can help you successfully defend yourself in court against your embezzlement charge(s). We help people accused of embezzlement across the San Francisco Bay Area, including Redwood City, Palo Alto and San Jose.