When you work in business, something you’ll want to protect yourself against is an accusation of embezzlement. Embezzlement is defined as purposefully stealing, misusing or retaining assets or funds that were entrusted to you as an employee or to your organization.
Embezzlement is an interesting kind of crime because with it you obtain the assets you’re accused of misusing or stealing legally. Then, the alleged victim claims that those assets have been used in a way that is against their contract or used without their consent.
How can embezzlement occur?
Embezzlement can happen in a number of ways. Something as simple as moving funds from one account to another might result in embezzlement if one of those accounts isn’t a business account but is instead your personal account, for example. Writing fake checks is another potential sign of embezzlement since money could be missing for years before anyone would notice that it wasn’t spent the way they were told it was.
Embezzlement might include skimming money from large funds over time. For instance, if a cashier regularly rounds up the price of a purchase for “charity” and then keeps the money that isn’t needed to balance the drawer, this could be embezzlement. Large amounts of money don’t have to be taken at once to result in embezzlement charges.
What can you do to defend yourself against embezzlement charges?
If you do face embezzlement charges, you need to build a strong defense. For example, you may want to defend yourself by showing that:
- You didn’t know that you were committing a crime, which may then drop the charges to theft rather than embezzlement
- You had no intention of embezzling or defrauding another person and that the actions were negligent rather than malicious
- You were not entrusted with property or money directly, so you couldn’t have embezzled it
These and other possible defenses could help you protect yourself against accusations of embezzlement. This is a serious charge. As a white-collar crime, it may be charged as a felony, which means that you could face time in jail as well as heavy financial penalties if you’re convicted. A strong defense is necessary to help you protect yourself and your freedoms.