In every walk of life, someone will be trying to get ahead. Unfortunately, this can be the case in a business setting, as companies, or individuals, can be charged with white collar crimes. By definition, a white collar crime is when an individual in a position of trust steals assets that do not belong to them. In Arizona, a theft crime comes into play when a person steals for their own personal gain and another person’s trust is violated by doing so.
If you have been arrested for a white collar crime, your freedom as you know it, is in jeopardy. If you live and/or work in Arizona, John Lyke Law has white collar criminal defense attorneys that specialize in defending individuals that have been charged with allegedly committing a white collar crime. Our team will come up with a well-curated defense strategy that will represent your interests in the best way.
Types of White Collar Crimes
White collar crimes are not a specific crime, just a broad category that covers theft or fraud in the “white collar” world. Some of the different types of white collar crimes are:
- Securities fraud
- Money laundering
- Tax evasion
- Identity theft
- Insurance fraud
- Ponzi Schemes
Some of the crimes mentioned above are associated with crimes outside the white collar crimes category.
What is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is one of the most common types of white collar crimes and it just so happens to be a specialty of the white collar crime attorneys at John Lyke Law. Embezzlement is considered a theft crime. As with any theft crime, it occurs when one person takes something from another person, without their permission. Embezzlement, however, is more specific. It occurs when one party puts their trust in another party to handle their financials and the entrusted party steals money. Some of the most common professional relationships where embezzlement occurs are:
- Accountant – Client
- Employer – Employee
- Politician – Consultant
If you have been accused of allegedly committing embezzlement, it is important that you hire an experienced white collar crimes attorney immediately. Without an attorney present, you may incriminate yourself without knowing it.
What are the Penalties for Embezzlement?
There are six different levels of punishments for embezzlement. The penalties vary depending on the value of assets that were stolen. The levels of embezzlement are as follows.
- Class 1: Less than $1,000 stolen.
- The penalty for this crime is punishable by up to six months in prison, three years probation, and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Class 6: Between $1,000 and $2,5000 or a firearm is stolen.
- The penalty for a class 6 crime is a possible six months to one year in prison and a minimum fine of up to $2,500, or both.
- Class 5: Between $2,000 and $3,000 stolen.
- The penalty for a class 5 crime is a possible 9 months to 1.5 years in prison, a minimum fine of $1,000, or both.
- Class 4: Between $3,000 and $4,000 stolen.
- The penalty for a class 4 crime is a possible 18 months to 3.75 years in prison and a minimum fine of $1,000, or both, and probation.
- Class 3: Stole more than $4,000, but less than $25,000.
- The penalty for a class 3 crime is a possible 2.5 to 8.5 years in prison, and a minimum fine of $1,000 or both.
- Class 2: Money or property stolen $25,000 or more.
- The penalty for a class 2 crime is a possible 4 to 12.5 years in prison and a minimum fine of $1,000, or both.
If you are convicted of embezzlement you my be ordered to pay restitution to the victim of the crime. In other words, you will be required to make a payment to the victim for the total amount of funds that were stolen. It is also possible for the court to place the convicted on probation until the money or property has been returned in full.
Defense Strategies for Embezzlement
While each case presents its own challenges, some defense strategies can be implemented across the board. Some of the common defense strategies for embezzlement are:
- Lack of intent
- Obtaining or using the funds for a lawful purpose
- Defendant acted out of necessity
- Mistake of fact
- Lack of evidence
- A lack of evidence is most common defense strategies for an embezzlement case. The reasoning behind this is that it is difficult to prove that the funds are missing because they were stolen and it was not due to accounting irregularities, poor bookkeeping, or misrepresentation of funds.
While these defense strategies may seem basic, they are effective and are used by many attorneys across the legal industry. Our attorneys are prepared to use these strategies in combination with others to defend you in the court of law.
Contact An Experienced White Collar Crime Defense Attorney
If you are a being accused of allegedly committing a white collar crime, it is important that you seek the proper legal help. John Lyke Law is a criminal defense law firm that has attorneys who specialize in white collar crimes. Our team is prepared to call on expert witnesses and other professionals that will provide assistance in proving your side. Contact us today to speak with an attorney and begin evaluating your options as you await trial.