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Atlanta Embezzlement Defense Lawyers

You might have heard about people getting fired from their jobs for stealing money from their employers, but this is not the worst possible consequence of unjustly using your position of employment to enrich yourself. If your employer accuses you of stealing and contacts the police about it, you can also get criminal charges for embezzlement. In Georgia, embezzlement can be a felony, and an embezzlement conviction can result in a prison sentence. The best decision you can make if you or one of your loved ones has been accused of embezzlement is to contact an Atlanta embezzlement defense lawyer.

What is the Definition of Embezzlement?

Georgia Code section 16.8.4 defines the crime of “theft by conversion,” which is Georgia’s legal term for embezzlement. It defines theft by conversion as when the defendant legally obtains access to funds or other property, such as through his or her employment, and then uses those funds in unauthorized ways. Therefore, embezzlement is a breach of fiduciary duty. The classic case of embezzlement involves an employee diverting company funds to his personal bank account or making personal purchases with her employer’s expense account.

Embezzlement is a more serious offense than simple theft because it involves a betrayal of trust. The victim trusted the defendant only to use the money in ways that the defendant had promised according to their employment contract, and the defendant violated that trust. Embezzlement is classified as a white-collar crime, along with insider trading, money laundering, and financial identity fraud.

What are the Penalties for an Embezzlement Conviction?

Not all embezzlement convictions will result in the same sentence; a major factor in determining the penalty is the value of the property stolen. If the property’s value changed between the date it was stolen and the date of the trial, the court will base the sentence on the higher of the two values. Embezzlement is a misdemeanor if the amount stolen was less than $500; these cases usually involve a cash-strapped employee taking a small amount of money out of the cash register and hoping that the employer will not notice. The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor embezzlement conviction is a $1,000 fine and a year in jail. If the stolen amount is higher, the prosecution has the right to classify it as a misdemeanor or a felony. The penalties are more serious if the victim is a person above the age of 65. The maximum sentence for felony embezzlement is 10 years in prison.

What are the Possible Defenses for an Embezzlement Charge?

Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to argue that the victim authorized you to make the transactions that prompted the embezzlement charges. In other circumstances, you might be able to argue that your employer’s suspicion of embezzlement is due to an unintentional mistake in financial records and that no theft actually occurred.

Atlanta Embezzlement Defense Lawyers

The embezzlement lawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam in Atlanta, Georgia can help you fight your charges of embezzlement or another white-collar crime.