You may have seen movies where a slick financier uses his skill and charm to embezzle money from an employer or from trusting investors. Hollywood may glorify these acts, but in real life, it is not so glamorous. In fact, if you are facing charges of embezzlement from your employer, your life may feel anything but glamorous.
The charges you face and the potential consequences ahead depend on many factors. Investigators have likely been examining the case and gathering evidence, perhaps for months, so you are already at a disadvantage. It may help you to understand the charges you are up against and the options available for your defense strategy.
What does the future hold?
Embezzlement occurs when an employee or someone else with fiduciary duties steals from funds that someone has entrusted to him or her. This often occurs over time and may involve other forms of fraud, such as manipulating financial records, opening fake accounts or falsifying invoices. If authorities are pointing their fingers at you because money has gone missing, it may be because you have such a fiduciary duty or access to certain accounts with little oversight. To convict you of embezzlement, the prosecution will have to prove the following:
- That your employer assigned you the trusted position of being responsible for the money investigators claim you embezzled
- That you used your position to take the money
- That you actually stole the money or transferred it to someone else
- That you performed these actions with the intention of taking possession of the money for your own purposes
Depending on the circumstances, you may be facing other charges as well. For example, if authorities can prove that the alleged fraud violated federal laws, you may be facing federal charges that could intensify the consequences. Additionally, the amount of money or assets in question may also determine the degree of the offense with which authorities charge you and the severity of the penalties if a court convicts you.
A conviction for embezzlement can result in community service and restitution, or it can mean you will be spending significant time behind bars. Either way, you will have a negative mark on your record that will certainly hinder you in many areas of your life. To avoid this consequence, you will want to take every available step toward building a strong defense strategy to fight the charges you face. A South Carolina attorney can assist you in reaching for your goals.