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How Can I Defend Against Embezzlement Charges in California?

Posted on in Theft

San Jose criminal defense attorneyThe term “white collar crime” encompasses a wide variety of criminal acts. Some of these offenses can include financial fraud. Embezzlement refers to withholding assets for the purpose of conversion by one or more persons to whom the assets were entrusted. As a form of employee theft, embezzlement applies to any unlawful taking of entrusted property according to California Penal Code. Classified as a felony in California, this crime can affect your personal and professional life. Depending on the circumstances, punishments may include costly fines in addition to prison time. Therefore, if you or someone you know is accused of embezzlement, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you clear your record.    

What Acts Constitute Embezzlement?

The actions or behaviors that constitute embezzlement can be somewhat confusing. An example of embezzlement would be a cashier at a retail store or a bank who takes cash out of his or her money drawer and pockets it for his or her own use. Similarly, a financial advisor takes some of his or her client’s investment money and uses it to pay off a debt. In other scenarios, a company president may write himself or herself a check out of the business bank account.   

To convict someone of embezzlement, the prosecution must be able to prove all of the following components:

  • The property holder entrusted his or her property to the accused person
  • The property owner did this because he or she trusted the accused person
  • The accused dishonestly used or converted the owner’s property for his or her own benefit
  • The accused individual’s intention was to deprive the owner of the property’s use

What Are Possible Defenses to Embezzlement? 

In some cases, a person accused of embezzlement might not be criminally liable under the statute. There are a couple potential defense strategies to an embezzlement charge, such as the following: 

  • If the accused believed in good faith that he or she was allowed to take the property in question 
  • If the accused did not intentionally take the property from the owner

An instance of the above is if an employee took company property without permission for a specific purpose, such as getting it serviced or repaired. Because the worker did not intend to deprive the company of said property permanently, he or she did not technically commit embezzlement.

Contact a San Francisco Criminal Defense Lawyer

White collar crimes are taken seriously in the state of California. A conviction for embezzlement can carry harsh penalties, including steep fines and incarceration. At the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson, we understand the consequences of criminal offenses and how they can change your life and ruin your reputation. That is why it is crucial that you consult with our distinguished Palo Alto embezzlement attorneys before entering a plea. We can create a strong defense strategy to help you avoid a conviction. To schedule your free and confidential consultation, call us today at 408-246-3004. 



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