Embezzlement is considered to be a white-collar crime and involves property theft in a situation in which you are entrusted to manage or monitor someone else’s money or property. If you steal a portion of that money or property and use it for your own personal gain, you could be charged with embezzlement.
What sets embezzlement apart from the crime of theft is the element of access to the property or money and lack of legal ownership. This means there was a breach of trust involved to distinguish between embezzlement and theft. If you or a loved one has been charged with embezzlement, it is important to contact a skilled Ohio criminal defense attorney.
There are a wide variety of scenarios that can lead to embezzlement. One commonly cited example is the bank teller who accepts a client’s money for deposit. Rather than depositing the full amount, he or she keeps a small portion. The teller continues to do this over and over, slowly siphoning funds that belong to the bank that he or she is responsible for protecting.
Ohio Laws on Embezzlement
If you are convicted of embezzlement in Ohio, you could be facing serious jail time depending on whether it is a misdemeanor or felony. The sentencing will vary based on the value of the property or money you are convicted of stealing. In some cases, you may also be required to pay hefty fines. Examples of charges and penalties include:
- Up to $500 in value embezzled is a first-degree misdemeanor and up to six months in jail;
- Value $500 to $5,000 is a fifth-degree felony and carries a sentence of six to 12 months in jail;
- Value $5,000 to $100,000 is a fourth-degree felony and carries a sentence of six to 18 months in prison;
- Value $100,000 to $500,000 is a third-degree felony and can be one to five years in prison;
- $500,000 to $1 million is a second-degree felony, carrying a sentence of two to eight years in prison; and
- More than $1 million in value is a first-degree felony and carries a sentence of three to 10 years in prison.
Defenses to Embezzlement
Being charged with embezzlement does not mean it is an automatic conviction or that you should not prepare the best defense possible. There are a number of effective defenses available to you. Some of these include
- Lack of Intent: Prosecution must show you had intent to take the money or property.
- Insufficient Evidence: There is not enough evidence to prosecute.
- Duress: In limited cases, this might work as a defense if you were told to participate in an embezzlement scheme or you would lose your job.
Contact a Dayton Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing charges for embezzlement in Ohio, you need an experienced Dayton embezzlement attorney who can prepare the best defense possible. Contact the VanNoy Firm today to schedule an initial consultation.