As employees at a job, we all aim to be trusted and respected by our superiors and supervisors. One of the great compliments as a worker is to earn the trust of the executives of the company in handling and managing some of the company’s assets, such as a banking account or petty cash.
A Breach of Trust
Many of us have integrity and are responsible with money, whether it’s our own or someone else’s. Many of us would not consider stealing money from another person’s account or another person’s business. Sadly, however, there can be mistakes made in some corporate settings where the wrong person earns fiduciary trust and breaches that trust by taking a “bonus” on his or her own account.
A bonus that was not signed off by the boss. That is not copasetic.
What is Embezzlement?
An unauthorized “bonus” from a business account in which you are given a fiduciary trust, is called embezzlement, which is a serious crime. Embezzlement, as defined legally, is considered theft of company assets from a person who was given a fiduciary trust.
Embezzlement can take place in a couple of ways. First, an employee may take a large chunk of money from the company in a very short amount of time and take pains to cover up the crime with fake bank accounts or false receipts, or an employee may “skim” smaller amounts of money over a longer period of time. Often, embezzlement may not be found for several years after it happens, depending on the methods of concealment.
The 4 Factors of Embezzlement
In order for a charge of embezzlement to be applied to a person and to be prosecuted, there must be all of four factors present in the situation:
- A direct fiduciary trust between the two parties involved; in other words, the owner of the company or the CFO must have a direct trust and relationship with the employee with whom he or she has entrusted assets.
- The only way the accused would have received access to the property or asset is through the relationship.
- The defendant has taken ownership of the asset or transferred it to someone else who does not have the same direct relationship.
- There was demonstrable intent by the defendant.
As long as all four of these factors are present in the case, a charge of embezzlement may be applied and aggressively prosecuted, resulting in significant jail time and restitution payments back to those who were harmed.
Fight for Your Rights
Should you be accused of embezzlement, or if you are a victim of possible embezzlement, make sure to make contact with one of our criminal attorneys to get a consultation about your case and help you determine whether your case meets the threshold for embezzlement and you have a voice to stand up for your rights and ensure that justice prevails.