Avoid an Embezzlement Conviction with These Defenses
Embezzlement is the illegal practice of taking money or valuables by a person who is responsible for overseeing the money or valuables. This crime is different from simple theft because the person taking the valuables has the legal right to possess and manage the valuables.
In order to prove a charge of embezzlement, the prosecution must show that the alleged embezzler had substantial control over the stolen valuables.
This crime often occurs in the context of business operations. For example, suppose than an accountant for a construction company is given control of funds to be used for future building projects. If that accountant transfers $1,000 of the funds into his personal account, he may be convicted of embezzlement.
Embezzlement Defense Strategies
It’s possible to fight embezzlement charges in court. Because the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant misappropriated funds, it is possible to attack the prosecution’s evidence.
Some defense strategies focus on the following tactics:
- Providing bank statements that account for all transactions
- Indicating that the defendant was not the only person with access to the funds
- Providing proof that the money was mistakenly allocated rather than stolen
How to Use These Strategies
The purpose of a legal defense is to show a defendant’s innocence and reduce or eliminate any penalties. By using the strategies listed above, this can be accomplished in several ways.
For example, a defendant could provide the court with bank statements that show that there is no link between business debits and personal deposits. This might indicate that the defendant has not been embezzling funds.
Obtaining company records could show that people other than the defendant had access to the missing funds. If the defense can create sufficient doubt that the defendant was responsible for misappropriating the funds, a conviction may not be possible.
Bank records and company information could also show that the missing money was simply placed into the wrong account, rather than stolen outright. This may create problems in the prosecution’s case.
Other Defense Options
A defense attorney may be able to negotiate with the court for a reduced sentence. For example, the attorney may try to convince the court to allow the defendant to pay restitution for the missing funds. In return, the court may allow the defendant to avoid jail time and additional fines. It may even be possible to have the charges dropped if restitution is paid.
Of course, every embezzlement case is different. Only a qualified attorney can give proper legal advice in cases like these. If a defendant is facing embezzlement charges, hiring a good lawyer is the first step in creating a legal defense.