As has been previously been discussed on this New Orleans criminal defense law blog, not all serious crimes involve the use of physical violence. Many financial crimes involve claims that an individual manipulated accounts or records for the purposes of financially enriching himself. This post will discuss one such financial crime: embezzlement.
Allegations of embezzlement generally include several important elements. First, there must be probable cause to believe that a person charged with embezzling money was in control of the money of another person in order for the charges to arise. Second, there must be probable cause to believe that the other person and the alleged embezzler had a fiduciary relationship with regard to the safeguarding of the money in question. Third, there must be probable cause to believe that the alleged embezzler had taken control of the money in question and given it to a third party, ultimately taking it out of the original owner’s control. Finally, there must be probable cause to believe that the alleged embezzler did all of the previous elements with the intent of committing embezzlement.
The manipulation of a fiduciary relationship for the purposes of taking another person’s financial resources is at the heart of an embezzlement charge. Since there must be a relationship of trust in order for a charge to be embezzlement as opposed to simply theft or larceny, embezzlement claims often come up in employment and banking contexts where individuals are trusted with other people’s resources as parts of their jobs.
The punishment for an embezzlement conviction can be very serious. Embezzlement charges can be heard at the state or federal level depending upon the context of the case and the laws alleged to have been violated. As with other forms of white collar crime charges, individuals who are struggling to overcome their outstanding embezzlement charges may always seek the counsel of their personal criminal defense attorneys to plan and prepare defense strategies for their trials.