Annapolis Embezzlement Lawyer
Often referred to as a “white collar crime,” since it often involves professionals in the business world, embezzlement is a serious criminal offense under both Maryland and federal law.
As a professional, you may be particularly susceptible to accusations of embezzlement and similar white collar crimes that are of a financial nature, since you often are in a position of trust relative to your patients, customers, or clients. Therefore, you may be in danger of losing not only your freedom but also your livelihood.
An Annapolis embezzlement lawyer could understand your unique situation and how harsh the potential consequences can be. Consider the benefits of getting advice from an experienced legal professional who fully comprehends the gravity of your situation.
What Constitutes Embezzlement?
Embezzlement occurs when individuals wrongfully take money or property that has been placed in their care, but that belongs to another person. The individuals must have had lawful possession of the money or property at the time of the crimes, or it becomes a different type of theft offense.
Embezzlement can involve the simple taking of office supplies by an employee of a business, or an elaborate Ponzi scheme designed to defraud an employer and its customers.
Maryland Criminal Code §7-113 defines embezzlement as occurring when fiduciaries:
- Fraudulently and willfully appropriate money or anything of value that they hold in a fiduciary capacity contrary to the requirements of their trust responsibilities, or
- Secrete money or anything of value that they hold in a fiduciary capacity with a fraudulent intent to use the money or thing of value contrary to the requirements of their trust responsibilities
Embezzlement commonly occurs in the context of employee theft. This type of crime does not typically involve any violence or threats of physical force but is motivated by financial gain only.
Potential Penalties for an Embezzlement Conviction
Embezzlement is a misdemeanor charge that can result in a sentence of imprisonment ranging between one and five years. The actual sentence that individuals can receive when convicted of embezzlement depends upon the value of the property involved, the degree of harm resulting from the offense, prior criminal history, and the existence of other related charges.
Additionally, many professionals who are accused of embezzlement are licensed, meaning that any criminal convictions or even mere accusations of wrongdoing can result in the loss of their licenses, careers, and professional reputations. An Annapolis embezzlement lawyer could work tirelessly to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.
Federal Embezzlement Charges and Penalties
In addition to or instead of state embezzlement charges, some individuals may face federal embezzlement charges. There are a wide variety of embezzlement offenses under federal law. Some of these offenses include:
- Misapplication or theft of funds by bank employees
- Embezzlement from an employee benefit plan
- Misappropriation of funds from certain employment and training funds
- Embezzlement from health care benefit programs
Federal sentencing guidelines are harsh when it comes to convictions for embezzlement. For example, individuals who embezzle $1,000 or less from banks pursuant to 18 U.S. Code §656 can face up to one year in jail, a fine, or both. Those who embezzle more than $1,000 can face up to 30 years in jail and a fine of up to $1 million.
How an Annapolis Embezzlement Attorney Could Assist You
Whether you are facing state or federal embezzlement charges or both, you have a lot to lose if convicted. To have a better chance of minimizing the potential consequences from embezzlement charges, you may wish to consider enlisting legal representation from an Annapolis embezzlement lawyer.
With an experienced white collar crime attorney at your side, you may be able to more adeptly navigate federal and state court proceedings as needed.