Former Prosecutor Serving Minnesota And Wisconsin Since 1992

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Understanding the severity of embezzlement charges

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2024 | White Collar Crimes

People in Minnesota often equate criminal charges with acts of violence, armed robbery, weapons violations and stealing tangible items. While these are obvious criminal acts, other illegal behaviors like white collar crimes do not involve weapons or threats. White collar crimes include embezzlement, allegations of financial misdeeds, identity theft, misappropriation and more.

With embezzlement, people are often under the impression that the penalties are not as severe as other types of crimes. That is not the case. In fact, people who embezzle significant sums can face extensive penalties including long jail sentences and hefty fines. It will also lead to a negative perception in other areas of their life. Although these charges are serious, there are viable defenses that can be used to mitigate the charges or to get an acquittal.

What is embezzlement?

Embezzlement occurs if a person was entrusted with property, receives it legally and appropriates it for purposes other than what it was intended to be used for. For example, if a person works in a store and a customer buys something and, instead of recording the purchase and putting the money in the cash register, the worker puts the money in their pocket. This is considered embezzlement.

There are myriad other ways in which embezzlement can occur. A person working in a church or other religious entity and taking money that was donated by members of the congregation could be embezzlement.

A recent case in Minnesota led to a woman being charged with embezzlement after she allegedly took over $3.7 million from her job and another $17,000 from a vulnerable adult. This took place in 2019. She was overseeing the finances at her workplace when she was said to have become involved with a man she met online. He asserted he needed money he was owed. It came to around $7 million. According to her, he said he would reimburse her. She was arrested for transferring him the money.

Cases involving financial fraud require a strong defense

In many instances, the accusation of embezzlement could have come about due to a misunderstanding. The person who is facing charges might have had personal issues with extenuating circumstances that could be considered by the court. Or the incident may have been a one-time mistake from an otherwise law-abiding person.

With these cases and the possibility of long-term penalties, it is wise to explore all options. Perhaps a plea bargain could be available or the charges can be dropped by simply reimbursing the person who suffered loss. The person charged could even be completely innocent. Regardless of the situation and the amount that was allegedly embezzled, understanding white collar crimes and how to lodge a defense is key.