Federal Embezzlement Defense Lawyer – 18 U.S.C. § 641
This type of white collar crime has to do with those individuals who are stealing money by some sort of means from their employer. Normally, the federal government is not going to get involved with some small case involving a mom-and-pop store where someone is stealing money.
Usually the state will deal with that in any of the state government across the country. Our federal criminal defense lawyers are providing an overview below.
Embezzlement is stealing some form of money or property. Usually, an embezzler is someone in a position of trust who is taking money, property, or goods from the business they are employed by.
Generally, the federal government is not going to get involved in an embezzlement charge unless it involves a large amount of money. Embezzlement cases at the federal level concern thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you've got an embezzlement charge at the federal level, one option that could help you is to pay back the money. A lot of times, we negotiate deals in federal court where the money is paid back before the person enters into a plea agreement or the money is paid back as part of the plea agreement.
For the federal prosecutors, getting that money back for the victim is huge. Most of the time, they are willing to give people a chance and not send them to prison for a long period of time. If you have a federal embezzlement case, it's crucial that you speak with a criminal defense attorney to get your strategy together right from the beginning.
Where the feds get involved in these embezzlement cases at the criminal level is when large dollars are being taken — there's a sophisticated scheme using a computer, big companies are being stolen from — that's probably where the line is drawn. But of course, I've seen all sorts of exceptions to that.
Sometimes it's just a matter of the people who are being stolen from, how they find out and who they contact once they find out. If they contact the FBI and the case is big enough for them to take, then the federal government is going to be involved.
If on the other hand, they contact the police and get to the right detectives on the case, then there's a major fraud unit — especially here in Los Angeles and probably across the country — that will deal with an embezzlement case.
The difference between embezzlement and just regular theft is, the embezzler sits in a position of trust in a particular job, company or business and they use that trust and that special knowledge or special position that they sit in in order to take money.
Embezzlement by Employees
I've seen some of these big companies that have millions of dollars and they have employees who are right in the middle of their bank accounts who have authority — especially if they team-up and you have a manager and an employee working together — they're right in the middle of being able to move large dollar amounts to their own bank accounts.
Why somebody would do that really doesn't make any sense because eventually, obviously, the government is going to find out about it because the employer, if they do some sort of an audit or they have some sort of a back-check, is going to realize that dollars are missing.
Really what I see happening is, even though people will get away with it for months and even years, they become greedy. They go too far and then the company starts to miss the money and then they get an investigation going. They have an audit done.
They bring somebody in who specializes in figuring out why companies are losing money and employees who embezzle money, what they do, what type of schemes they use, and how to figure it out.
When Does Embezzlement Become A Federal Offense Rather Than State?
If you commit embezzlement as an employee, charges will be filed against you in the particular courthouse that has jurisdiction over the area where the money was taken.
To make it a federal charge, you are usually going to need some sort of sophistication, where you were doing it on a large scale, a lot of money has been taken, and different bank accounts are being used.
The federal government is only going to use its resources when the state government can't handle a case because it requires specialized experts or large amounts of manpower.
The federal government has the FBI and other investigative bodies that can really dig into tough cases. When they are complex, it takes skill, time, patience, and effort to investigate. A lot of times, local police departments do not have the manpower to get involved.
Sometimes, the local police have to investigate these cases for years, whereas federal agencies can dive in and get them resolved in a matter of months. You are only going to see the federal government become involved when you have a case with sophistication, complexity, and large-scale loss.
Severe Legal Penalties
So, if you've got an embezzlement case at the federal level, you're facing some significant penalties because the government is very harsh when it comes to individuals taking money from their employers.
You're going to be ordered to pay back in restitution and you're also likely to be ordered to serve some federal custody depending on the amount of the loss, your criminal record, how sophisticated the scheme was, how vulnerable the employer was at the time the embezzlement occurred, who your judge is at the time of your sentencing, and how the prosecutors proceeds with the case.
So, there's a whole bunch of different factors that go into these embezzlement cases — how they're prosecuted — and what the ultimate result is. Some people have a defense to their embezzlement case and the government's got it wrong.
And if that's the situation, obviously you're going to need to sit down with a California federal criminal defense attorney who understands these embezzlement cases, knows what it takes to prove them, understands the jury instructions that are going to be read to the jury and also understands how the jury is going to evaluate an embezzlement case at the federal level.
So, I would encourage you to pick up the phone. Give me a call. We can discuss it over the phone and we can also meet face-to-fact and if you're serious about hiring someone who's been down the road you're about to travel.
You've come to the right place. We can talk about your embezzlement case and figure out what The Hedding Law Firm can do to help you and put you in the best possible position moving forward.
You may be charged with embezzlement if you, as an employee or someone who has obtained possession of goods or money in a proper, legal manner, has misappropriated funds/assets that have been entrusted to you with the intent to deprive the owner permanently.
Depending on the amount of money/assets embezzled, you may face a significant amount of time in jail and have excessive fines imposed on you.
In felony embezzlement at the federal level, you are typically going to be looking at a significant amount of time in federal custody. In order to determine that time and get an idea of the sentence you are facing, you need to sit down with a federal criminal defense attorney and have them explain the federal sentencing guidelines.
It will calculate a base offense level and then add any enhancements. The more money you allegedly took, the higher your exposure is going to be. For example, you may be facing somewhere between 30 and 37 months, according to the guidelines.
However, the reality is that the federal judge will ultimately decide what the sentence is and he or she is not limited to the federal sentencing guidelines.
Do I Have To Have A Lawyer For Felony Embezzlement Charges?
If you've got felony embezzlement charges at the federal level, you don't have to provide your own lawyer but it's advisable to find one you trust, who knows what they are doing and will fight for you. If you don't have the funds to afford a lawyer, a federal public defender will be appointed to you.
That lawyer will be seasoned and will be able to assist you with your case. It's never a good idea to try to represent yourself, especially in federal court, which is much more sophisticated than state court. You should definitely, if you can afford it, get your own federal criminal defense lawyer.
Some people own their own business and they get money from the federal government and then they do illegal things in relation to receiving those funds. At that point, you are stealing money from the federal government and you could be prosecuted for a theft-related offense.
In order to be charged with embezzlement at the federal level, they are going to have to prove that you are taking money from someone else.
You can't take money from yourself, but if you are acquiring money in an illegal manner, you can bet your bottom dollar the FBI, the Secret Service, or some other federal branch is going to get involved, and they are going to prosecute you to the full extent of the law.
Prosecutors will search back as far as they possibly can, in collaboration with whoever the victim is, to try to figure out what the loss was and what type of charges they can bring. At some point, however, they will be limited by the statute of limitation arguments that a defense can bring up in an embezzlement case at the federal level.
Our defense attorneys have handled embezzlement cases and we have seen great results. The Hedding Law Firm understands that sometimes good people are put in bad situations and we are here to help you get out of those bad situations.
If you are being charged with embezzlement, on federal or state level, contact our embezzlement defense attorneys and set up a free face to face consultation. Our fees are reasonable, our credentials are unmatched, and we are confident that we can effectively and efficiently defend your case.