Many people know the name “embezzlement” because they’ve heard it mentioned in a news report or on television somewhere. While the name sounds devious and impressive, meaning accusations often draw significant interest, very few people actually know the true details of this crime. Generally, embezzlement is the term used to describe theft of property that belongs to someone else, but which the perpetrator was given access to. As such, the stolen property is usually money.
Here are three facts about embezzlement accusations that you may not be aware of but you should know, particularly if you have been accused of this type of theft crime.
Embezzlement is a White Collar Crime
“White collar crimes” is a term used to describe offenses which are perpetrated by someone in a professional setting. Because these crimes are usually committed by someone who is held in high social standing or placed in a position of trust, they’re typically thought of as being a “white collar” professional. It should come as little surprise then that in most instances those who perpetrate this crime the most often are accountants, finance-handling secretaries, bankers, account managers, financial officers, and other high-ranking executives who have the ability to manipulate funds. In most instances, the victim is actually a company, not an individual, though individuals are also often victims.
Embezzlement is a “Wobbler”
“Wobbler” is a name given to crimes that could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the offense. Embezzlement is a theft crime, and like other theft crimes in Wisconsin the severity of the charges is based on the value of the property stolen. If the property stolen is less than $2,500, the charges will most likely be Class A misdemeanor charges, which can carry up to nine months in jail. Above that $2,500 mark the crime can become a felony, which can carry years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
Embezzlement Has to Be Intentional
Believe it or not, embezzlement is one of a very select few crimes where saying you didn’t mean to do it is actually an accepted defense. In some instances, if the defendant can prove that they didn’t actually mean to steal anything, and that they actually and believed they had the rightful ability to take control of the property for their own purposes as though it were their own, then no crime has been committed. A lack of intent is grounds to have your charges dismissed.If you need help with your embezzlement charges, speak with a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella today by dialing (414) 882-8382.