Do I Need A Florida Defense Attorney To Fight Embezzlement Charges?
Embezzlement is on the rise in the workplace across Florida, so law enforcement, private companies, and insurers have implemented sophisticated investigation and forensic tools to detect misconduct. Florida’s embezzlement statute categorizes the crime as theft because it involves misappropriation of money, property, or other items of value; however, embezzlement also touches on fraud concepts since false statements or misrepresentations are at the core of the scheme. To further complicate the offense, there is a unique feature of embezzling: The offender, at some point, DID have lawful possession of the misappropriated assets.
However, it is not just these complexities that make it essential to retain skilled legal counsel. Additional reasons to retain a Florida criminal defense lawyer to fight embezzlement charges include:
Your corporate counsel CANNOT represent you. To prove embezzlement, the prosecution must have evidence that you misappropriated company property for your own personal use after it was entrusted to you for legitimate purposes. Examples might be an employee taking cash the employer directed for deposit or an executive converting company property.
In other words, embezzlement is a crime against your employer and the organization is the victim. The company’s legal team is retained to protect the entity’s interests, not individuals.
Embezzlement is almost always a felony. Florida’s theft laws focus on the value of the misappropriated property, so any amount under $300 or less would be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. Embezzling items in excess of this amount will be a felony, punishable by 5-15 years in prison for amounts up to $100,000. You could even face a First Degree Felony and up to 30 years’ incarceration for embezzlement valued at $100,000 or more.
Note that the total value of embezzled property is considered when applying the minimum threshold, making the bar relatively low if the scheme involved a series of fraudulent acts.
You must employ unique strategies for defending white collar crimes. You might be surprised to learn that defense tactics are very different for embezzlement charges. Consider the following:
- Many people accused of embezzlement have never had an encounter with the criminal justice system.
- The company and/or law enforcement have been investigating and gathering evidence to indict you. However, they may be more interested in getting back the misappropriated property than seeking you behind bars.
- Embezzlement is a property offense, not a violent crime.
Together, these factors make it more likely that you can work out a plea agreement with the prosecutor.
Our South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys Will Fight for Your Rights
If you were recently charged or believe you might be arrested for embezzlement, it is critical to reach out to an experienced lawyer right away. You have rights to protect during an investigation, and there are multiple defense strategies to take advantage of at the earliest stages of the case. Our team at Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. is prepared to leverage these tactics to obtain a favorable outcome, so please contact us to schedule a consultation at our offices in Jupiter, FL. After reviewing your situation, we can advise you on the proceedings.