Understanding embezzlement

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2023 | White Collar Offenses |

There are many forms of theft under Tennessee law, including shoplifting, robbery, electronic theft and more. One specialized form of theft is embezzlement.

Generally, those charged with embezzlement are people who have positions within companies and organizations. It is generally what people refer to as a white-collar crime.

Elements of embezzlement charges

The first element of embezzlement is that the defendant must have legal control over the money or assets of the company or organization at the time of the theft. For instance, an employee might have the authority to handle the cash in their employer’s cash drawer.

When employees use this authority and then keep some or all of the assets for themselves, they commit embezzlement.

In some cases, a worker will take small amounts from different accounts repeatedly over time, which makes it harder to detect. Others who are responsible for the accounting of funds may underreport income for the company and keep the amount they do not report. Other times people will take a large amount at one time and then leave right afterward.

All types of embezzlement can result in serious consequences. The potential penalties for a conviction may include long terms behind bars and hefty fines, and may be more serious in cases involving larger amounts of stolen assets.

Interestingly, convicted embezzlers are required to report embezzled money in their income tax returns, meaning that they could potentially face tax penalties as well as criminal charges.

That is why having a strong defense is important. Experienced attorneys understand the criminal justice process and may be able to help protect people’s rights.