Columbia Embezzlement Lawyer
Embezzlement is generally regarded as a white-collar crime, which means that it typically does not involve any force, violence, or a threat of force or violence. This offense primarily involves financial transactions, whether in the context of a bank or other financial institution, an investment company, government agency, a law firm, or another place of business that handles financial transactions in some way.
Embezzlement may come to light through financial audits, the discovery of missing funds by another employee or supervisor, or normal accounting practices. Regardless of the situation, embezzlement charges can have serious consequences, so consulting with a Columbia embezzlement lawyer may be of assistance to you. An attorney could be your best chance at avoiding the serious penalties associated with your charges.
Definitions of Embezzlement
When individuals are fiduciaries, or individuals who are legally authorized to possess money or property belonging to others, and they take or use the money or property for their own financial gain, they commit embezzlement.
This offense may range from bank tellers who pocket small amounts of cash from time to time to trustees or investment advisors who misappropriate another’s wealth for their own purposes.
While these individuals do have the authority to possess the other’s money property, they do not have authority to use it for their own benefit or to use it in any way that does not benefit its owner.
Md. Code, Crim. Law § 7-113 defines embezzlement as any fraudulent and intentional misappropriation of anything of value that they hold in a fiduciary capacity, in a manner that is contrary to their legal responsibilities. Embezzlement also occurs when fiduciaries hide anything of value that they hold in a fiduciary capacity with an intent to use it fraudulently and contrary to their responsibilities.
Evidence in Embezzlement Cases
Any accusations of embezzlement must be supported by documentary evidence. Even though most accounting systems have transitioned from paper records to computerized data, there still often is a lengthy “paper trail” that can be used to document any misappropriation of funds.
This evidence can be complex and lengthy, as individuals who do embezzle funds often find creative ways to hide missing funds over a period of many months or even years.
As a result, it is often necessary to enlist the services of a professional accountant or auditor to examine the records and determine exactly how, when, and to what extent any embezzlement occurred.
Potential Penalties for Embezzlement Convictions
Embezzlement normally is a misdemeanor under Maryland law, which can result in a sentence of incarceration of between one and five years. The exact prison sentence for an embezzlement conviction will vary according to the value of the property involved in the offense, prior criminal convictions, and other pending criminal charges.
Given the potential for years in prison as a result of an embezzlement conviction, contacting a Columbia embezzlement lawyer may be advisable.
There are additional consequences that individuals may face if convicted or even accused of embezzlement. For instance, embezzlement primarily occurs in the context of the workplace or work-related activities. If individuals are suspected of embezzlement, they almost certainly will lose their jobs and may be foreclosed from working in the same industry in the future. They also may be subject to disciplinary actions if they maintain a license for their profession, including suspension or revocation of that license. An attorney could advise the accused of the likely outcomes of their case and help to mitigate the damages.
Contact a Columbia Embezzlement Attorney Today
Embezzlement charges can have serious consequences, particularly if they are coupled with other white-collar criminal offenses, such as fraud. Building a strong defense to any criminal charges is key and talking to a Columbia embezzlement lawyer as soon as possible following any accusations of embezzlement may be your chance to do just that.