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Embezzlement is a criminal offense that can wear many faces and could be prosecuted as a misdemeanor, a felony, or even a federal crime depending on certain factors. Embezzlement involves transferring funds or goods that have been entrusted to you (in either a personal or professional capacity) for personal use or other personal purposes. The penalties for those convicted of this crime may vary depending on the circumstances in which the alleged crime took place. If you need an embezzlement lawyer in Redondo Beach or anywhere else in the Los Angeles area, the attorneys at Okabe and Haushalter can assist you.
California Penal Code Section 503 outlines the crime of embezzlement. The word “embezzlement” brings to mind images of people stuffing huge sums of cash into bags and toting them away to some big personal vault, but in reality, embezzlement can take many forms. Let’s explore a couple of examples of embezzlement.
A cashier works at a local convenience store. He has forgotten his wallet at home and wants to run across the street for some fast food at lunch. He takes a small bill from the cash register he is in charge of so he can afford lunch and vows to replace the bill tomorrow when he remembers his wallet. This is technically a case of embezzlement, and if his employer catches him and decides to press charges, the cashier could face a misdemeanor charge in court.
A person has been assigned control over an aging and infirm relative’s finances as a conservator. This person decides that she needs a new car, and since her relative’s nest egg is not doing the relative any good, it may as well go toward the down payment on her new vehicle. She withdraws 5,000 dollars from her relative’s account and uses it to purchase a new car. This is embezzlement and would be prosecuted as a grand theft case due to the amount of money involved. This person could face large fines and a state prison sentence if she was convicted in court.
In the state of California, the crime of embezzlement is prosecuted and penalized as a form of theft. The type of theft—petit or grand—depends on the amount of money or the value of the goods that were allegedly embezzled. If the funds or goods have a value of up to 950 dollars, then the embezzlement is treated as petit theft and is a misdemeanor punishable by fines and less than one year in a county jail. If the funds or goods have a value over 950 dollars, however, then the embezzlement is treated as grand theft and could be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and penalized by hefty fines and incarceration in a state prison. People who are facing embezzlement charges are urged to contact a defense lawyer to discuss their rights and options.
When you are ready to talk to an embezzlement lawyer in Redondo Beach, the attorneys at Okabe and Haushalter are here to help. Our specialty is criminal defense, and we have a long-standing reputation for providing our clients with courtroom excellence. We will help you fight your allegations in court and work hard toward attaining a desirable outcome for your case. You can have your case evaluated at no cost to you, so call today to explore your legal options with a knowledgeable defense attorney.