Embezzlement is defined under Penal Code section 503, as the fraudulent appropriation of property or money by a person to whom it has been entrusted. Although not the most common of theft crimes, embezzlement is typically seen in employer/employee relationships, when an employee is accused of stealing money or property on the job. Many times, the defendant is charged with a general theft crime, as well as the charge of embezzlement. This is generally known as crimes being charged ‘in the alternative’. While a person may be convicted of both crimes, generally he or she may only be sentenced on one.
The typical situation where embezzlement may be charged, is that of a convenience store cashier taking money from the cash register when no one is looking. However, embezzlement may also be charged in the case of a caregiver taking advantage of the relationship by stealing money or property from the person for whom they are providing care. Many times, this crime is seen in conjunction with cases of elder abuse, where a caregiver takes advantage of the elderly victim by wrongfully appropriating his or her money or property. Sometimes, in these relationships, the caregiver is entrusted with sensitive personal information, including bank account access, credit cards, debit cards, pin numbers, etc… It is when the caregiver oversteps the boundaries of the relationship, and appropriates property or money for his or her own benefit that embezzlement is very commonly seen.
Depending on the seriousness of the case and the amount of money taken, embezzlement may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If it is of an amount less than $950 and the suspect has no record, then a misdemeanor charge may likely be filed, rather than a felony. However, many embezzlement cases are filed as felonies and can carry with them up to three years of state prison time just for one embezzlement charge by itself. If elder abuse charges are also filed, then the prison exposure is increased due to the nature of the relationship and the age of the victim.
Charged with Embezzlement? Call a Temecula Criminal Defense Attorney: (951)698-1250.
Most of the time, the employer will become aware of some type of loss of property or money, and then might either conduct his or her own investigation or contact the police immediately. These cases typically involve the loss of employment and livelihood, in addition to the daunting reality of criminal charges. Therefore, if you are facing an embezzlement charge, we understand that you are undergoing a tremendous amount of anxiety and stress, both personally and financially.
At the Law Offices of Parwana Anwar, PLC, a Temecula Criminal Defense Attorney, our experienced attorneys will guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected. Call our office today to take advantage of our free consultation.