Charlotte Embezzlement Defense Lawyers

Embezzlement is a financial crime that is frequently misunderstood. Embezzlement happens when the defendant withholds assets for the purpose of stealing the assets. The suspect must have been entrusted to use or manage the assets for a particular purpose. For example, an employee who has access to his employer's bank accounts might fraudulently steal funds from his employer.

If you have been charged with the crime of embezzlement, you could face significant jail time and penalties. We recommend hiring experienced defense lawyers as soon as possible. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, our lawyers have extensive experience defending clients from all types of financially based criminal charges. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.

What is Embezzlement?

Embezzlement is often called a financial crime of dishonesty. In most cases, the crime of embezzlement is related to financial crime. Unlike larceny charges, embezzlement charges involve serious premeditation or deliberation. Put simply, embezzlement happens when someone entrusted with money or assets withholds the money or steals things of value.

The suspect in an embezzlement case will usually take steps to conceal or hide the theft of assets over a period of time. Sometimes, employees will steal small amounts of money from their employer over a period of years. Over time, the amount that they steal becomes significant.

Prosecutors must prove that the defendant converted or stole the money without the victim's consent. Sometimes, embezzlement can take years to discover. There are several different specific types of embezzlement, including the following:

  • Embezzlement of property received by virtue of the office of one's employment
  • Embezzlement of state property by public employees and public officers
  • Embezzlement of funds by public trustees and officers
  • Embezzlement of funds by treasurers of religious organizations, churches, and charitable organizations
  • Embezzlement by railroad company officers
Punishment for Embezzlement in North Carolina

Embezzlement charges often involve large amounts of money and a deep feeling of betrayal. Those who entrusted assets to the defendant will likely provide testimony in the criminal trial process. In North Carolina, embezzlement charges come with lengthy prison terms, as the crime is a felony charge.

Those accused of embezzling assets of $100,000 or more will face Class C felony charges in North Carolina. Class C felony charges are even more serious than charges for robbery with a dangerous weapon, which is a Class D felony. Even if someone has no previous criminal record, they will face an active prison term if they are convicted.

If you have no prior criminal convictions, you will face between 58 and 82 months in prison. The maximum prison sentence for a Class C felony is 231 months for a defendant with a prior conviction within an aggravated sentencing range.

Many active prison sentences also require a period of post-release supervision or probation. That means that even after you are released from prison, you will need to report to a probation officer, undergo drug testing, and meet other serious regulations. Thus, if you have prior criminal convictions, you may be facing a prison sentence of over 19 years.

Embezzlement of Assets Less Than $100,000 in Value

If you are found guilty of embezzlement of assets less than $100,000 in value, you will be sentenced to a Class H felony in North Carolina. This crime carries a maximum statutory penalty of 39 months in prison. Depending on the facts of your case, prosecutors might attempt to seek the highest possible amount of prison time.

Federal Embezzlement Charges

In addition to state embezzlement charges, defendants can also face target="_blank"federal embezzlement charges. Typically, federal embezzlement charges involve direct embezzlement of government funds or embezzlement of property by a government employee. Defendants can also face charges for indirect embezzlement of government funds.

The penalties for federal embezzlement charges depend on the value of the assets that the defendant allegedly embezzled. If the employee embezzled more than $1,000, he or she will face a $250,000 fine and a prison sentence up to 10 years. If the defendant embezzled less than $1,000, he or she will face misdemeanor charges with a fine of up to $100,000 or up to a year in prison.

A conviction for embezzlement of public funds will also need to pay the victim of the embezzlement restitution. Typically, the amount of restitution required is equal to the amount of assets embezzled by the defendant. If you are facing embezzlement charges, contact our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.