Larceny is the act of taking property belonging to someone else with their consent and having the intent to permanently deprive the true of it. There are many forms of larceny such as embezzlement. The general definition of embezzlement is the act of taking property entrusted to you for safe keeping. The taking is done without permission and with the intent to deprive the true owner forever. On the state level, most true owners are companies or individuals who entrusted their belongings to a specific person such as an employee or friend. Federal embezzlement is different.
If you are charged with federal embezzlement, it’s important for you to learn everything you can about the criminal charge. It is also important to hire a federal defense lawyer experienced in defending federal embezzlement crimes.
What is Federal Embezzlement?
Federal embezzlement is outlined in title 18 USC Chapter 31. The crime was also defined in an 1895 case. The definition set then is the definition currently used. Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of government property committed by a person entrusted with the property.
Federal Embezzlement Charges
The term “embezzlement” means that you are accused of taking property, money or something of value from a government agency. The type of embezzlement charge you face depends on the property and the property’s value.
The type of property that can be embezzled:
• Tools or materials used for counterfeiting
• Public records
• Public property
• Public money
• Accounting of public money
The term “accounting of public money” sounds complex, but it isn’t. The term simply means that a person is accused of manipulating accounting records to hide that alleged theft of money or property. For example, the person may list a deposit for $40 instead of $400 to hide the fact that they too the $360 from a government account.
How Prosecutors Obtain an Embezzlement Conviction
A federal prosecutor must use four elements outlined in the federal statute to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that you are guilty of embezzlement. The prosecutor must use evidence to support these elements:
1. You had a fiduciary or trusted relation between you and a federal government agency or state or local government agency.
2. You obtained possession of the property via your employment
3. Your dealings with the government property constituted a fraudulent appropriation or conversion. This means that you allegedly took the property to use as your own.
4. You had the intent to permanently deprive the government of its property.
Penalties for Federal Embezzlement Conviction
Here are the penalties for embezzling public property:
• Embezzlement of public records, money and property valued less than $1,000 is one year in jail, $100,000 fine or both.
• Embezzlement of public records, money and property valued higher than $1,000 is 10 years in prison, $250,000 or both.
• Embezzlement of materials or tools used for counterfeiting is 10 years in federal prison, $250,000 or both These materials include tools to create federal bonds or currency notes.
• Embezzlement of accounting generally done for public money valued less than $1,000 is one year in jail, $250,000 or both.
• Embezzlement of accounting generally done for public money valued higher than $1,000 is 10 years in prison, $250,000 fine or both.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines and Conviction
The exact criminal sentence will depend on a number of factors such as the value of property embezzled, criminal history and sentencing guidelines. For example, an embezzlement sentence ranges from jail time to approximately 30 years in federal prison.
In the federal government criminal justice system, a points are used to determine the sentence for a federal conviction. The point system ranges from six to 36. The Base Offense Level, the lowest point level, is six. The federal government sets the Base Offense Level for embezzlement conviction for property valued at less than $5,000. The highest points are reserved for those who embezzled more than $400 million.
For example, someone convicted of embezzling property valued at $10,000 may receive 10 years in federal prison. However, if they are convicted of embezzling less than $5,000, but more than $1,000, then they may receive less time in federal prison.
Contact Federal Embezzlement Criminal Defense Lawyers Immediately
You been accused of federal embezzlement. The crime is often more serious than being accused of embezzlement from a non-government entity because of hefty fines and serious prison time. If you or a loved one is suspected or charged with federal embezzlement, it’s time to fight the charge. Forget about worrying what will happen. You need to use the time to fight the charge.
The first step in fighting a federal embezzlement charge is learning as much information about the criminal charge as you can. The next step is hiring a federal embezzlement lawyer. Contact us to represent you in your federal embezzlement charge.