Embezzlement is a theft crime involving someone intentionally stealing money through their employment or access to a business. Often, embezzlement charges occur at the state level when an employer reports someone to law enforcement for stealing from a company.
However, some people facing embezzlement charges will end up in federal court rather than state court. Those defendants will face federal sentencing guidelines and the intimidating federal criminal court process. If sentenced to incarceration, they could end up far from home while in federal custody.
When are embezzlement charges brought at the federal level?
1. When someone misappropriates federal assets
Plenty of individuals, from investment managers who handle retirement funds to accountants at construction companies, could have access to government funds or assets. Some people embezzle not from their employer directly but rather from companies or clients that do business with their employer. Any case of embezzlement where the resources misappropriated by the worker actually belong to the government will likely result in federal prosecution.
2. When someone is a government employee
Someone who works for a government agency and embezzles will likely face federal charges. Such embezzlement might involve the theft of office equipment or the misuse of bank accounts. Any action that might constitute embezzlement with a private business could lead to federal prosecution if the worker has a government job.
3. When the embezzlement involves theft from banks or financial institutions
Given that the federal government oversees and regulates thinking also providing special insurance for people’s deposits, it has an interest in ensuring that banks do not end up defrauded by their employees. Those who embezzle from financial institutions may end up facing federal charges even if the money they take belongs directly to a private business.
Federal embezzlement charges can mean up to ten years in federal prison and fines equivalent to the amount of resources misappropriated, meaning that simply pleading guilty may not be the best choice. A careful review of the evidence and the specific allegations can help a defendant determine the best way of fighting the charges against them. Learning more about the nature of the charges and the possible consequences can help someone accused of a federal embezzlement offense.