Embezzlement in Pinellas County
Embezzlement is defined as a fraudulent appropriation of funds or property of a business or of another person who initially entrusted you with its care. In other words, embezzlement is when someone who is handling one party’s money, like a financial advisor, skims some of the money, coming in or going out, off of the total. The crime of embezzlement is not specifically mentioned in Florida law, but it is considered a theft crime. Depending on the amount, the crime can be considered petit theft or grand theft. The amount stolen will also determine how strict the penalty is.
At Pinellas Criminal Law we have years of experience trying embezzlement cases. We understand that a misrepresentation of funds or an accounting error can look like theft; even though it is not. If you have been accused of embezzlement theft, contact our office today to speak with an embezzlement criminal defense lawyer. We have a team in place that is determined to fight for the verdict you deserve.
Proving Embezzlement in Pinellas County
When a prosecutor is trying to prove embezzlement there are a number of things that should be noted. When a prosecutor is trying to prove embezzlement, they do not need to prove the defendant took funds or property without the victim’s consent. However, the prosecutor will need to prove that the defendant later intentionally spent, used, or took the entrusted property without consent. It is the defense lawyer’s duty to fight the claims of the claims of the prosecutor, invoking reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind.
Defense of Embezzlement in Pinellas County
Now that we are aware of what the prosecution will try to prove, it is time to answer the question of what the most common defense strategies are. While these defense strategies are the most commonly used, they must be applicable to your case. If they are not applicable to your case, we will develop a set of strategies that fit your case. The most common defense strategies are:
- Lack of intent
- Obtaining or using for lawful purpose
- Defendant acted out of necessity or duress
- Mistake of fact
- Lack of evidence
- A lack of evidence defense could state that there was no confession or evidence of the crime the defendant is being accused of. This strategy is used because it is difficult to prove that the loss was a result of theft and not because of accounting irregularities, poor record keeping, or misrepresentation of funds.
These defense strategies may seem basic, but they are effective and used by many defense attorneys in the industry. Our attorneys will implement these strategies as well as others in order to create a plan that fits your specific case.
Penalties for Embezzlement in Pinellas County
In the state of Florida, the term embezzlement is not specifically mentioned in the law. However, the description of embezzlement is outlined in the theft section of the law. Embezzlement can be characterized as petit theft or grand theft; which are penalized as a misdemeanor or a felony, respectively. The penalty is dependent on the amount of money that has been stolen. The heaviest punishment for a theft crime is a first degree felony, then comes a second degree felony, followed by a third degree felony. A more specific look at the penalties that can be ruled in a heft case is provided below.
- A first degree felony in Florida comes into effect if the theft is equal to, or more than $100,000. The penalty is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
- A second degree felony in Florida will be declared if the accused stole $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000. This crime is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
- A theft will be declared a third degree felony if the accused stole $300 or more, but less than $20,000. This crime is punishable by up to five years in jail and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.
- If you have stolen money or property that’s value is at least $100, but less than $300, you may be charged with a first or second degree misdemeanor. Penalties for this crime may require you to serve up to one year in jail time and/or pay a fine of up to $1,000.
In addition to the penalties above, it is possible that the accused’s license can be suspended. For a first offense, the suspension can be in place for up to six months. If you have multiple offenses, the judge can rule a license suspension for up to one year.
Contact an Embezzlement Defense Attorney in Pinellas County
Theft in Florida is a serious crime. If your employer accuses you of stealing funds, you should stop any suspected illegal activity, you should not talk to your employer or any other employees, and you should not talk to the authorities until you have the proper law representative set in place. The penalty for a first degree felony can cost you up to 30 years of your life. If you have been accused of theft or embezzlement, you should contact an experienced embezzlement defense attorney today.
Pinellas Criminal Defense has experience trying embezzlement cases. If you have been accused of embezzlement by your employer, in the state of Florida, contact one of our attorneys today. There are a number of strategies that our attorneys can implement to fit your situation. We will create a plan to get you the verdict you deserve.