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Embezzlement is a criminal offense involving misuse or misappropriation of money or goods a person has been placed in charge of. This crime can take money forms—in some cases, it could involve an employee funneling money away from an employer and into their own personal bank accounts. In other cases, it might involve a person seizing funds from a family member to use for personal gain when they were placed in charge of those funds, as with a conservator relationship. If you are facing these or similar charges in the Los Angeles area, an embezzlement attorney in Pacific Palisades can aid you with your legal case. Contact the team at Okabe and Haushalter to learn more about fighting the charges you face in the courtroom.
Although Section 503 of the California Penal Code defines embezzlement, there is no one penalty for this charge itself under state law. Instead, in terms of punishment, the law treats embezzlement as if it were a form of theft. This means that the sentences for those convicted of embezzlement depend on the amount of money involved in the alleged crime.
First-time offenders whose charge qualifies as petit theft (meaning the funds or value of goods embezzled does not exceed 950 dollars) could receive a six-month county jail sentence along with a fine of less than 1,000 dollars. However, people previously convicted of a crime or whose embezzlement involves funds or goods valued at 950 dollars or more could face a grand theft charge.
Federal charges vs. state charges
While embezzlement cases treated as petit theft in California result in less serious penalties if a person is convicted, the penalties are more serious if the embezzlement qualifies as a breach of federal law.
Misdemeanor charges vs. felony charges
Misdemeanor charges may result in fines, probation and six months to one year in county jail if the alleged perpetrator is convicted. However, if convicted of one or more felony charges, the accused could spend years in prison and face substantial fines. Most embezzlement cases being treated as petit theft will be misdemeanors, but those treated as grand theft could go either way.
You have the right to due process by law, and you have the right to a legal defense. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor charge or a felony, are accused of committing a federal crime or a state crime, you need a defense lawyer who knows the law and has a track record of courtroom excellence.
Facing an embezzlement charge can make you feel sick with worry and panic, but you don’t have to face it alone. Contact an embezzlement attorney in Pacific Palisades to find out how the staff at Okabe and Haushalter can help you in a court of law. We are criminal defense specialists who know the California Penal Code inside and out, and we want to be your legal advocates. Our knowledge and experience combined with proven results could help you reduce the number of charges and the severity of penalties. Call us today for a free consultation.