What Is a Federal Embezzlement Charge?
Embezzlement is a type of theft where someone who was trusted to manage or monitor someone else's money or property steals some or all of it for their own personal gain. Embezzlement is different from other types of theft in that the accused had legal access to the money or property but was not given any ownership rights. Embezzlement involves taking the money or property for their own gain by using a special position of trust to gain access to the money or property, to begin with. A common example of embezzlement is a grocery store cashier pocketing money from the cash register. The cashier had the legal right to possess and collect money on behalf of the grocery store but did not have the right to take the money for themselves.
Theft from the government is illegal under federal law. Federal embezzlement charges under 18 USC § 641 can be authorized for various types of theft from the federal government. Charges can be authorized for the theft of property from a national park by a park ranger or other federal employee. Federal embezzlement charges can also result from the theft of property that is owned by a private entity but has been paid for by the government. For example, if a construction employee is hired to work on a government building and ends up stealing building materials from the job site, then that employee can be charged and convicted of federal embezzlement. If you are facing an investigation for federal embezzlement, then make sure that you speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
What Are the Potential Penalties for a Federal Embezzlement Conviction?
There are several potential penalties for different types of federal embezzlement. If someone embezzles money, property, or records from the U.S. government that is valued at more than $1,000, then that person can be charged with a federal felony. A conviction for a felony embezzlement charge can result in a fine of $250,000 and a federal prison sentence of up to ten years. If the value of what was taken is $1,000 or less, then that person can be charged with a federal misdemeanor. A conviction for a misdemeanor embezzlement charge can result in a fine of up to $100,000 and a jail sentence of up to one year.
Some federal embezzlement charges are only felonies. One example is the embezzlement of tools and materials for counterfeiting purposes under 18 USC § 642. Embezzling any item that can be used to create federal bonds, certificates, money, stamps, or another item in circulation can result in a federal felony charge that carries a maximum punishment of ten years in federal prison.
What Are the Potential Defenses for a Federal Embezzlement Accusation?
There are several defenses that might be available against a federal embezzlement charge. The prosecutor must prove that you had criminal intent in your actions. Embezzlement requires a specific intent from an individual to specifically deprive the owner of his or her property or money that was entrusted to the individual. If money or property was accidentally taken without a criminal intent to permanently deprive the owner of the money or property, then there is no embezzlement. Other defenses relate to constitutional violations. Make sure to understand all the potential defenses in your case.
In What Court Will Your Case Be Heard?
If you have a federal criminal case, then it will be heard in a federal district court that has jurisdiction. There are three federal District Courts in the state of Pennsylvania based on region. The Pennsylvania federal district courts are known as the central, middle, and eastern district courts. If your allegations arise in central or eastern Pennsylvania, then your criminal case will be processed in either the middle district court or eastern district court.
If you disagree with a ruling or decision in your case, then you can file an appeal. All appeals from Pennsylvania federal district courts must be filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Any appeals from this court must go to the United States Supreme court. Cases are individually chosen to be heard at the Supreme Court level, so there is a strong chance that the court of appeals is the highest court you will be heard in. An experienced attorney can assist you in any appeal or defense process.
How Hiring an Experienced Attorney Can Help
If you are being prosecuted federally for embezzlement, then it is important to have the help of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can give you professional advice based on knowledge and experience. This advice can be used to devise the strongest defense in your case. Your attorney can also advise you whether it's better to take your case to trial before a jury or better to work out a plea deal.
If you want to work out a plea deal, then your attorney can negotiate it with the prosecutor and judge. Your attorney's opinion related to any proposed plea deal is invaluable. Make sure you have all of the necessary information regarding your case and potential results before making any decisions with your case. If you have legal questions, then contact us at The Lento Law Firm today!
Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm Is the Right Choice
If you are being investigated or prosecuted federally for embezzlement, then it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney right away. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped people defend countless criminal charges in several jurisdictions. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring us is the right choice to help defend your federal case