What Is Embezzlement?

person in handcuffs at court

Embezzlement is a type of white collar crime that involves the unlawful taking of funds or assets from an organization by someone who was trusted to manage those resources.

This crime often occurs when someone affiliated with an organization takes advantage of their position and exploits it for personal gain. Embezzlement cases often involve people in positions of authority, such as business owners, company executives, or public officials. Anyone, however, can be accused of embezzlement under certain circumstances.

Embezzlement can involve a wide range of activities, such as the following:

  • Making fraudulent accounting entries
  • Creating false invoices
  • Writing unauthorized checks
  • Misappropriating funds
  • Using company property for personal use

Embezzlement is not only a violation of another’s property, but it’s also a violation of trust placed in a person to manage that property appropriately.

What Are the Penalties for Embezzlement?

Mississippi doesn’t take embezzlement convictions lightly, and any conviction can result in a lengthy jail sentence or prison term in addition to a steep fine.

Embezzlement may be charged as a misdemeanor when the property allegedly used was valued at less than $500. A conviction for a misdemeanor embezzlement charge can result in no more than six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Embezzlement is charged as a felony when $500 or more in value is taken from an organization or entity. In the most serious cases, a conviction can result in a 10-year prison sentence and a $25,000 fine.

It’s important to bear in mind that multiple instances of embezzlement may be charged individually. That means one can face multiple counts of misdemeanor or felony embezzlement, or both. A conviction for multiple counts of embezzlement can result in a much lengthier jail or prison term.

What Should I Do If I’m Investigated for, or Charged with, Embezzlement?

If you are facing embezzlement charges, it’s important to take them seriously and obtain legal representation as soon as possible to protect your rights. Your criminal defense attorney can explain the charges against you and advise on the course of action for your particular case. Depending on the specifics of the situation, your lawyer may recommend negotiating a plea bargain with the prosecutor or fighting the charges in court.

In most cases, it is essential to remain silent until counsel is present and refer all questions to your attorney. Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your legal options and create a defense plan tailored to reach the best possible outcome for your case.

For information about how we can help you with white collar crime charges, contact Johnson, Ratliff & Waide, PLLC online now.