In the world of white-collar crimes, embezzlement is one of the most common. While it can take many forms, embezzlement typically involves someone in a position of trust misusing that trust for personal gain.
How does embezzlement occur?
Embezzlement is the white collar crime of unlawfully taking property that has been entrusted to you. It’s a form of theft. For example, an employee might embezzle money from their employer by falsifying expenses or by pocketing cash that comes into their possession. Similarly, someone in a position of power might misuse public funds for personal gain.
One high-profile example of embezzlement is when a company executive misappropriates company funds to live a lavish lifestyle. In these cases, the executive might use company money to pay for personal expenses, like vacations, homes, cars or even expensive gifts.
In most cases, embezzlement is a crime that’s committed over time, rather than all at once. That’s because it usually requires the offender to have access to funds or property that they can slowly and steadily siphon off without raising suspicion.
While embezzlement can be committed by anyone in a position of trust, it’s most commonly committed by people who work in finance or accounting. That’s because these roles tend to give employees access to large sums of money, which makes it easier to commit fraud without detection.
What are the consequences of embezzlement?
The penalties for embezzlement vary depending on the amount of money involved and the state where the crime was committed. But in general, embezzlement is a felony offense that can result in up to 15 years in prison.
In some cases, offenders might also need to pay restitution, which is the process of returning the stolen money to the victim. For example, if an employee embezzles $20,000 from their employer, they might have to repay that money as part of their sentence.
In addition to prison time and restitution, offenders might also get fined or placed on probation. And in some cases, the offense might result in the loss of a professional license, like a license to practice law or medicine.
Embezzlement is a serious crime with significant consequences. If you’re facing charges, it’s important to take your time to understand the charges against you and form and develop a strong defense.