Embezzlement is a serious criminal offense usually committed by an employee against an employer that is punished harshly in Chesterfield County. If you are convicted of this crime, you could face incarceration and a hefty fine. In addition, you could experience many long-term consequences throughout your life because of the nature of the crime.
Fortunately, you may be able to avoid the severe ramifications of an embezzlement conviction with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will build a defense that could result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense—even if you are guilty. Call Quest Law PLLC today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we will defend you.
What Is the Crime of Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is a white-collar larceny offense. It is theft by an employee of their employer’s property and involves a betrayal of trust as well as the criminal act of stealing. Under Virginia code §18.2-111, this crime is committed if a person fraudulently uses, disposes of, conceals, or embezzles the money, bill, note, check, order, receipt, bill of lading, or other tangible or intangible property that they have received from an employer or other principal. To be considered embezzlement rather than theft, the accused must have received the property through their office, trust, or employment.
While some individuals charged with this crime are corporate presidents and high-ranking officers, many of the accused are retail store employees, treasurers, money managers, and bank employees. Examples of this crime include:
- Skimming money from a cash register
- Using a business credit card for personal purchases
- Writing checks from a company account to pay for personal debts or to pay them for services they have not provided
- Taking gift cards
- Using employer perks, such as free airline miles, for personal use
- Stealing property of an employer, such as construction materials, computers, or other electronics, for personal use or to sell
What Are the Penalties for Embezzlement in Virginia?
Embezzlement can be a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the value of the property stolen. If an individual is arrested for embezzling property with a value of less than $1,000, it is considered petit larceny and is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, a person could be sentenced to up to one year in jail, a $2,500 fine, or both.
When the value of the property is more than $1,000, the crime is grand larceny, which is a Class U felony. The punishment for this type of felony is a minimum of one year and up to 20 years in prison. However, the judge or jury deciding the case has the discretion to sentence the person to up to 12 months in jail or a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
Long-Term Consequences of an Embezzlement Conviction
If you are convicted of embezzlement, you will have a permanent criminal record. Having a criminal record can limit your ability to obtain employment, housing, education, security clearances, and much more.
The long-term consequences can be especially harsh when the conviction is for embezzlement. First, you will almost certainly be fired. If your job involved handling property or money, it will be extremely difficult to find a new employer willing to hire you for a similar position. In addition, your professional and personal reputation will be tarnished.
Contact an Attorney to Help You Fight an Embezzlement Charge
Were you charged with embezzlement in Chesterfield County? You need a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who will aggressively fight the charges you face, so you avoid the serious punishments and long-term consequences of a conviction.
Take advantage of our offer of a free consultation to learn about what to expect in your criminal case. I also invite you to review my track record in defending other clients facing similar charges. To schedule your appointment, start a live chat or call my Midlothian office today.