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An act of embezzlement occurs when an individual who has been given custody or control over the property of another individual or entity misappropriates that property, typically for his or her own benefit. While facing criminal charges for this offense may be a daunting situation, know that a seasoned Michigan embezzlement lawyer could offer you their assistance by aggressively fighting on your behalf in court. Read on to learn more about how a dedicated defense attorney could work to help your case today.Potential Penalties
While embezzlement that involves property valued at $1,000 or less is classified as a misdemeanor, anything valued at more than $1,000 is classified as a felony. An act of embezzlement regarding property of the following values could lead to several different sentences, including:
- Less than $200: punishable by up to 90 days of incarceration
- Between $200 and $1,000: punishable by up to one year of incarceration
- Between $1,000 and $20,000: punishable by up to five years of incarceration
- Between $20,000 and $50,000: punishable by 10 years of incarceration
- Between $50,000 and $100,000: punishable by 15 years of incarceration
Finally, embezzlement of property valued above $100,000 is punishable by 20 years of incarceration. However, it is important to note that the embezzlement of property belonging to or intended for a charitable organization is associated with increased punishment. An individual facing these consequences should consider reaching out to a weathered Michigan embezzlement lawyer as soon as possible for assistance.Long-Term Consequences
An embezzlement conviction can negatively impact an individual's current and future employment, potentially precluding him or her from working at a financial institution, or in any position that involves management of cash or monetary funds. Such negative consequences on an individual's livelihood may, in turn, negatively impact his or her relationships and wellbeing, having lasting and far-reaching effects on many aspects of his or her life and future.
Moreover, if an individual is convicted of a felony involving embezzlement, and he or she has an existing felony record, this subsequent conviction is considered a crime of moral turpitude. This means that, if he or she is ever charged again for a future crime, the prosecution may introduce evidence related to his or her prior convictions as indicative of his or her character. Under the law, that is, multiple felony convictions may be seen as indicative of an individual's integrity, honesty, or morality. Consider retaining representation from a determined defense attorney to begin fighting against these consequences as soon as possible.Evidence in an Embezzlement Case
It is the prosecution's role to prove that the defendant was a custodian of the subject funds and that he or she misappropriated those funds. To do so, the prosecution must establish that the defendant had access to the subject funds. Moreover, the prosecution will generally work to prove that he or she was the only individual with such access.
The defense, on the other hand, will work to prove that either the defendant did not have access to the subject funds, or that he or she could not have misappropriated those funds. This is achieved through a complete examination of all transactions and the individuals involved therein. Often, this is referred to as a paper trail. Through such an examination, the defense will attempt to identify other individuals who may have embezzled the subject funds.Common Misconceptions
Many individuals mistakenly believe that they will not be charged with embezzlement if they simply reimburse the funds or property they take. However, this is not necessarily the case. Moreover, such thinking often results in a growing and unmanageable problem. For instance, if an employee takes $10 from the cash register of his or her workplace one week, and $20 the next, and $30 the next, and so on and so forth, all the while thinking he or she will pay that money back, the amount he or she has taken may soon grow unmanageable and beyond his or her means of reimbursement. Under such circumstances, the employee, who thought he or she was only taking a $10 loan from his or her employer may soon find himself or herself owing hundreds or thousands of dollars.The Role of an Experienced Michigan Embezzlement Lawyer
Any individual who has been charged with or may be charged with embezzlement should contact a professional Michigan embezzlement lawyer as soon as possible. Often, the circumstances that give rise to an embezzlement charge do not actually constitute embezzlement. For example, while it may appear that funds have been misappropriated, an individual may have simply made a bookkeeping error where no funds were improperly handled.
The sooner an individual hires a qualified Michigan embezzlement lawyer, the sooner such an attorney can examine the facts and circumstances of the case begin working toward a resolution that is favorable to the defendant. Moreover, a skilled Michigan embezzlement lawyer can ensure that the defendant does not make any statements to the police or prosecution that could hurt his or her chances of a successful defense. If you are facing charges, do not hesitate to reach out to a dedicated Michigan embezzlement lawyer today for your initial consultation.