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Embezzlement is a criminal offense that takes place when a person misappropriates money or property that they were trusted to manage or handle in some way for personal purposes. This could involve taking cash from the register, taking a disabled relative’s money (whose finances you have been entrusted with via power of attorney), or otherwise misusing funds entrusted to you. If you live in the Los Angeles area and have been accused of this crime, contact an embezzlement attorney in Venice to discuss your case.
A cashier who slips money from a register into their own wallet could be charged with embezzlement, as could a family member who acts as conservator over a relative (for example, an elderly or severely disabled person) who then misuses their status as conservator to take the funds entrusted to their care for their own personal use. Embezzlement can also involve less literal forms of misappropriating funds, such as through fraud.
The way your criminal charge is prosecuted depends on the amount of money or the value of the property that was allegedly misappropriated during the embezzlement. A bank teller taking small bills from the cash drawer may be charged with a misdemeanor offense if the total value of the money skimmed was 950 dollars or less. However, the crime could be prosecuted as a felony in a situation where the funds or goods were valued at more than 950 dollars. If a person is entrusted with a large sum of money donated for the purpose of benefitting a specific charity but chooses to funnel that money into a personal account, then that person may face felony charges and their case could be prosecuted as grand theft.
While the California Penal Code Section 503 gives us the definition of embezzlement and differentiates it from other forms of theft or fraud, the punishments for people who are convicted of embezzlement are calculated using the guidelines for petit theft or grand theft as dictated in California Penal Code Sections 484, 487 and 488. Penalties for embezzlement range from a six-month jail term to lengthy prison sentences to be carried out in either state or federal penitentiaries, depending on the amount of money involved in the alleged embezzlement.
When facing criminal charges like these, you need to know that you have the best embezzlement attorney in Venice on your side. The lawyers at Okabe and Haushalter are experienced legal professionals with a long history of successfully defending their clients in the courtroom. A competent, assertive attorney can push to get your charges reduced via a plea agreement, leading to a reduced sentence if a conviction is reached. You can contact us right now for a free consultation, and we will create a rock-solid defense plan to go up against your criminal charges in court. Call today to learn more.