Embezzlement is a serious crime that could land you in jail and result in heavy fines, so it’s important for you to protect your reputation and your rights if you are accused. A crime of embezzlement occurs when you steal or misappropriate funds that were entrusted to you but that belong to your employer. For example, if you work at a cash register, you’re trusted to perform transactions as intended and not to steal funds from the drawer. Acting in any kind of wrongful manner with those funds could lead to claims of embezzlement.
What’s the difference between simply stealing money and embezzlement?
Theft and embezzlement are a little bit different because embezzlement generally involves methods of hiding the theft of money. For example, if you work in accounting and change a few numbers around to hide that you stole $1,000 from the office, then that would constitute embezzlement. If you simply steal $1,000 without trying to cover it up, that may be simple theft.
Is embezzlement a serious crime?
It can be. Depending on what you’ve embezzled and the damage that has been caused, you could face a misdemeanor or felony charge. The threshold could be as little as $100 for a misdemeanor in Maryland, for example. Felony charges usually apply once $1,000 or more has been stolen in the state. For example, you could face a felony theft charge for stealing $1,000 and up to 10 years in jail.
Your age could also play a role in your case. For a juvenile accused of embezzlement, there is a possibility of being tried as a minor. However, a history of offenses could lead to an older teenager being tried as an adult, which is something to keep in mind if you are under 18.
No matter who you are, you have a right to an attorney if you’re accused of a crime. You deserve an opportunity to defend yourself and to take action to protect your reputation. An embezzlement conviction could make it difficult for you to find work in the future, so it’s worth defending against it at all costs.