Facing a criminal charge such as embezzlement can understandably be both frightening and humiliating, as a conviction can lead to time behind bars and lost career opportunities. This is especially true for those who are public officials or are often in the public eye.
Fortunately, just because you are facing an embezzlement charge does not mean you are immediately guilty. Before you can receive a conviction, your guilt must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. You have the right to fight the criminal charge vigorously in Colorado.
What is embezzlement?
Embezzlement is essentially the larceny or theft of assets, including property or money, via an individual who is in a position of responsibility or trust over these assets. This type of crime often happens in corporate settings.
Accounting embezzlement is one form of this crime that involves manipulating accounting records in order to hide the stealing of funds. Those accused of this type of crime have reportedly transferred property that others have hired them to manage or monitor to their personal possession.
Other specific examples of embezzlement
One example of embezzlement is if a store clerk or bank teller takes money that he or she was responsible for using to complete business transactions. In some cases, those accused of embezzling reportedly took large amounts of money at one time, whereas in other situations, those facing charges allegedly misappropriated tiny amounts over an extended period of time.
There are a myriad of methods employed to embezzle funds, including Ponzi financial schemes, the falsification of records, sending payroll checks to fake employees and fraudulent billing.
Will you receive a conviction for your embezzlement charges?
For an embezzlement charge to turn into a conviction, the following four factors have to be proved in court:
- A fiduciary relationship must have existed between two parties.
- The defendant had to have obtained the property via the fiduciary relationship.
- The defendant must have assumed ownership of this property or transferred it to somebody else.
- The defendant must have acted intentionally.
Having a strong criminal defense team -- one who can thoroughly examine all of the evidence against you and develop the best possible strategy for disproving any of the above elements -- is critical when fighting the criminal charge of embezzlement at trial. Thoroughly investigating the case, including obtaining all relevant records, along with using professionals such as forensic accounts and interviewing witnesses can significantly increase your odds of obtaining the best possible outcome for your future.