Los Angeles Embezzlement Defense Lawyers

Criminal Defense Attorneys Defending Individuals Accused of Embezzlement

Embezzlement in the State of California is governed by Section 503 of the California Penal Code. This code section defines embezzlement as fraudulently appropriating property that belongs to someone else – and which has been entrusted to your care. Embezzlement is distinguished from other types of theft in that it requires that person taking the property have a fiduciary relationship with the victim. Moreover, embezzlement can involve both very large and very small sums of money. It is important to note that an embezzlement conviction can still stand, even if the offender did not intend to keep the property or was only borrowing the property for a short period of time.

Some common examples of embezzlement might include a club’s treasurer pulling money out of the club’s bank account and using that money to pay personal bills or debts or a person using a company credit card for personal expenses.

If you are facing accusations of embezzlement, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at our law firm. Our attorneys will need to thoroughly review the details of your case to start preparing a strong defense strategy.

Legal Penalties

Upon conviction, California embezzlement crimes may be treated as either a form of California grand theft or California petty theft. The embezzlement classification is ultimately determined by the value and type of the property that is stolen.  Embezzlement may be considered a form of grand theft if the following are true:

  • The stolen property is worth more than $950.
  • The stolen property is a an automobile
  • The stolen property is a gun or other firearm

In California, grand theft embezzlement may be prosecuted as either a felony or as a misdemeanor. A felony grand theft embezzlement conviction can result in 3-7 years incarceration, while a misdemeanor grand theft embezzlement conviction can result in up to 1 year in the county jail. A misdemeanor petty theft embezzlement conviction can result in up to 6 months in the county jail upon conviction. Call a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at our office for more information.

Legal Defenses

There are several potential defenses to embezzlement that could apply in your case. Some of the most commonly raised include the following:

  • Good Faith – This defense involves the defendant claiming that he or she had a good faith belief that he or she had a right to the property.
  • No Demand – In some cases, the fact that the alleged victim of the embezzlement did not ask for the property back may be a valid defense to allegations of embezzlement, as in embezzlement cases the defendant rightfully possessed the property.

Reviewing Your Embezzlement Case

These cases are prosecuted in a serious manner in all of the courthouses in Los Angeles County. For the past 25 years I have had success in defending and negotiating embezzlement / theft related offenses. However, the results that I have achieved have not come easily and typically take time and effort to get done. The best place to start is with a face to face meeting to discuss the particulars of your case and a step by step strategy designed specifically for you and your circumstances.

The prosecutors and judges are particularly harsh on embezzlement cases because the person that is charged with the crime was usually in a position of trust within the business they worked for and violated that trust by taking money. In order to swing the pendulum in my client’s favor, I have them obtain character letters, develop a plan for paying back the money and show the prosecutor and judge that they are a person who is worth giving a chance to earn back their trust.

There are a number of important factors that the judge and prosecutor will consider for the good or bad in deciding what their position will be related to an embezzlement offense. These factors include, but are not limited to: The amount of money taken, if the defendant has a prior criminal record for a similar offense, whether the person has a strike prior, what impact the taking of the money had / is having on the business or person who lost money and the sophistication of the person who stole the subject money.

Potential Resolutions in an Embezzlement Case

There are a number of ways to successfully resolve an embezzlement case in one of the Los Angeles Courthouses. As in most dealings involving human beings, money talks. If I am able to go into a negotiation knowing that my client has the money to make the victim whole again, then our negotiating position in strong and in my experience there are many more options available that can benefit the client. Some potential resolutions include diversion (this is where the client pleads guilty or no contest but is not sentenced, hence avoiding a conviction), pleading guilty to a felony and earning a misdemeanor after a designated period of time and sometimes I can get a straight misdemeanor plea and expunge the case after a probationary period.

The above are examples of resolutions in criminal case where I have seen defendants charged with embezzling money from their employer. Obviously to assess your case, I will need the facts of the case and the information related to some of the factors that drive judges and prosecutors to make decisions on these type of cases. There is not one size fits all resolution for these types of cases. It is up to your attorney to use the facts and circumstances of your case and your history to achieve a result you can live with.

Call a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with embezzlement in the State of California, you need an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney representing you throughout your case. An experienced criminal lawyer will thoroughly evaluate your case and determine whether any legal defenses are available. Even in cases where there are not, a lawyer can often help you negotiate a plea bargain arrangement that is significantly better than the deal you would receive without the assistance of an attorney.

Call our law firm today for a free case evaluation. Our lawyers are available 24/7 at 866-986-2092.

Related pages: Wire Fraud | White Collar Crimes