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Woman Accused Of Embezzling From Contractor
A City Point woman has been charged with 41 different counts of cashing or depositing a check with intent to defraud, as well as grand theft and organized fraud, after stealing approximately $128,000 from a Cocoa Beach contractor she worked for. All of these charges fall under the umbrella of embezzlement, which is an extremely serious offense, especially when the ill-gotten gains are in six figures. If you have been accused of embezzlement, you need an experienced attorney who understands the stakes.
No Specific Statute
Embezzlement is defined as the unlawful conversion of another person’s property by someone who was entrusted with it. Most often, one hears about embezzlement in the context of money, as with the woman in City Point. Unlike in some other states, there is no specific embezzlement statute in Florida, though the cause of action does exist in civil law. These crimes will usually be prosecuted under the state’s property theft statute, either as petit theft or grand theft depending on the amounts involved.
Because very often, embezzlement involves manipulating bank accounts and other intangible assets, it is usually classed as a white collar crime, and either as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the value of the property that was misappropriated. Felony embezzlement charges, such as the woman in City Point is facing, carry serious penalties, including up to 30 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. It is also possible to have your driver’s license suspended upon conviction for up to 6 months on your first offense.
It is important to keep in mind that white collar crimes like embezzlement are often prosecuted extremely aggressively in Florida, for many different reasons, most often to make an example of white collar criminals. It is sometimes possible to negotiate a plea or otherwise work out a deal out of court, but sometimes a prosecutor will be intent on trial and conviction. If this happens in your case, you need an attorney who understands the potential stakes of having a conviction for a crime of dishonesty on your record.
There are defenses to a charge of embezzlement, most of which hinge on the question of intent. Embezzlement and most Florida theft crimes require intent to keep the property that has been misappropriated, with no intent to return it or relinquish it, and if you can establish that you have no intent to retain it, it can sometimes be a defense to this kind of charge. The City Point woman accused of embezzlement allegedly told law enforcement that she had intended for her parents to reimburse the money taken from her employer – it will be up to a jury to determine whether or not this serves as mitigation.
Contact A West Palm Beach Theft Crime Attorney
If you have been accused of embezzlement, you need an attorney who understands the law and who understands how best to ensure that you get your chance to tell your story in court. The West Palm Beach theft crime attorneys at Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. can help you decide how best to proceed with your case. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.