Defenses To Embezzlement Charges
Embezzlement charges are part of the larceny laws that relate to monetary crimes. There are a range of potential charges based on the severity of the embezzlement. If you are facing embezzlement charges, you may have more options than you know. Consider reaching out to a criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall at 703-934-0101 today to learn more about potential defenses to embezzlement.
Embezzlement Laws in Virginia
Embezzlement laws in Virginia fall under the branch of larceny or theft. Embezzlement laws are defined as wrongfully taking money or valuable property that was entrusted to you.
The most common example of embezzlement cases have to do with employees taking money or property from their employer. This can include employees who move money from the account of a company customer into their private account or an employee who Alters account books and Records to hide stolen assets. However, it does not have to pertain specifically to employee and employer situations. Embezzlement charges also apply to people who use the social security check that belongs to their relative.
Section § 18.2-111
Virginia Code Section 18.2-111 states that any person who wrongfully and fraudulently embezzles, conceals, disposes of, or uses any type of money or personal property from their employer or by virtue of their employment or which was entrusted to them by a corporation or company is guilty of embezzlement.
Section § 18.2-152.8
Virginia Code Section 18.2-152.8 states that any person who steals or receives property they can embezzle such as computers, data, software, personal property, or financial instruments is guilty of embezzlement.
Section § 19.2-223
Virginia Code Section 19.2-223, and refers to any situation where a person embezzles or fraudulently converts to their personal use banknotes, money, security for money, bouillon, or personal property can be charged with embezzlement. This can also include gold, silver, notes, or other forms of currency.
Section § 19.2-245
Virgina Code Section 19.2-245 states that a person who commits embezzlement or larceny beyond the jurisdiction of Virginia and brings the stolen property into Virginia can still be prosecuted.
Embezzlement charges in Virginia can be a class 1 misdemeanor or a class U felony. The charges are contingent upon the amount of money.
If the accused embezzled less than $500 in value worth of goods or money, it is a class 1 misdemeanor. A class 1 misdemeanor has a maximum jail sentence of 12 months and a maximum fine of $2,500. Judges can also order restitution for the amount taken.
If the accused embezzled more than $500 in value worth of goods or money, it is a class U felony. The maximum jail sentence is up to 20 years with a maximum fine of $2,500. Similarly, judges can order restitution for the amount embezzled.
Requirements for Conviction of Embezzlement in Virginia
In order to convict someone of embezzlement in Virginia, there are four factors that must exist in the case.
There must be some sort of fiduciary relationship between the person accused of embezzlement and the company from which they allegedly embezzled. The most common example is an employee from their employer.
The defendant must have acquired the property be it tangible or intangible because of their direct fiduciary relationship.
The defendant must have taken ownership of the money or property and,
Their actions must have been intentional.
Defenses to Embezzlement Charges
There are defenses to embezzlement charges in Virginia. Consider contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall to see which might apply to your case.
The best defenses target one or more of the requirements for a conviction of embezzlement in Virginia.
Lack of Intent
If you truly believed you were the owner of the property that was embezzled, you did not knowingly commit a crime and this could serve as a potential defense to your charges. If, for example, you can prove that the actions were a mistake and they were not intentional, the state may not have enough evidence for a conviction of larceny.
Insufficient evidence is one of the most commonly used defenses to embezzlement. This is a viable option in situations where there is not a paper trail to tie you to the embezzlement in question. Similarly, if you can prove that the property, tangible or intangible was not received because of your fiduciary relationship with a company, the state may not have enough evidence to convict you of larceny.
In legal terms, this means you were forced to break the law. If you believe that you were in some sort of danger or potential harm if you did not embezzle, this potential defense to embezzlement could help your case. This defense does not apply to situations where you acted to prevent family hardship or to satisfy a personal addiction.
If you embezzled money but you repaid it, this defense may not recuse you from embezzlement charges, but it can help reduce your sentence.
Entrapment takes place when a government agency or police officer compels you to commit the crime that you would not have otherwise committed. This tends to happen in situations where federal agents or police officers are working undercover.
If you were mentally incapacitated at the time of the embezzlement and this incapacitation was the cause of your actions, this could be a viable defense. Being heavily under the influence of prescription medications such that you accidentally deposited company money into your personal account by mistake is one example.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney To Learn More About Embezzlement
Embezzlement charges in Virginia are considered serious crimes. If a person is convicted they can receive a felony or misdemeanor charge, fines, and a mark on their permanent record. Consider contacting an attorney to learn more about the statutes pertaining to embezzlement. When you reach out to the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall at 703-934-0101, we can provide a consultation to review your situation, answer all of your legal questions, and help you develop a strong strategy for your legal defense.