Embezzling funds or goods that have been placed in your care—whether in a professional capacity or a personal capacity—is considered a crime in the state of California under Penal Code Section 503. No matter how big or how small the value of the funds or goods may be, it is unlawful to funnel those goods or funds for personal use or to dispose of them once they have been placed in your trust. Anyone facing an embezzlement allegation has the right to a legal defense in the courtroom. If you have been charged with embezzlement in the Los Angeles area, contact an embezzlement defense lawyer to discuss your case and find out more about what options you have in the legal system.
The California Penal Code outlines the crime of embezzlement in Sections 503 through 515. Embezzlement is considered a crime against property, and while the term may bring to mind large-scale heists or money laundering operations, the truth is that embezzlement takes many different forms. For example, a cashier taking cash from the register they tend in order to buy a pack of gum could be charged with embezzlement, as could a person who has been entrusted with a millionaire relative’s finances who then funnels those millions into their personal bank account. Even something as simple as leasing a rug cleaner from a store and subsequently throwing it away rather than returning it could be considered embezzlement under California state law.
The crime of embezzlement is prosecuted as theft in California. Whether the case is treated as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the amount of money or the monetary value of the goods involved in the alleged crime and whether the accused party is a repeat offender with similar charges. For example, embezzlement involving funds or goods valued below 950 dollars will be treated as a misdemeanor—petit theft—unless this is a repeat offense. On the other hand, embezzlement involving cash or goods valued at 950 or more will be treated as grand theft, which could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on other factors related to the alleged crime.
If you have been accused of embezzlement, you have the right to a courtroom defense against these accusations. An attorney can help you fight your charges and negotiate a desirable outcome for your case. Contact an embezzlement defense lawyer in Hermosa Beach at Okabe and Haushalter to find out more about your defense options. Our attorneys have a reputation for courtroom excellence and are notorious for their aggressive defense tactics that get real results. We offer case assessments at no cost to you, and we will keep you informed of the details surrounding your case every step of the way until your case is resolved in a satisfactory manner. Call or click today to learn more about how we can help you.