Understanding embezzlement to respond to charges

| Jul 10, 2020 | Federal Crimes

The criminal justice system is complicated regardless of the charges that a person in Massachusetts faces. In fact, those with little legal experience or training often question their ability to make the decisions that will likely impact the rest of their lives on their own. This is often especially true in cases involving accusations of white collar crimes, including embezzlement.

Embezzlement is a crime of theft that involves no trespass. It occurs most often in corporate fields or employment and involves an employee who is trusted to handle assets but is instead accused of misappropriating the assets for personal gain or use. It involves the use, selling, or giving away of funds or property that results in serious harm and is intended to be a permanent withholding. Money is not the only asset involved in these cases; for example, electronic equipment or company vehicles can also be converted.

While laws vary by state and embezzlement can also be a federal crime, four factors generally must be present. The first requirement is that there is a fiduciary relationship between the parties involved — generally that one party relies on the other. Those accused of embezzlement must have obtained property as a result of that relationship. To be convicted, it must be proved that the defendant either took ownership of the asset or transferred it to someone else. Finally, the act must be intentional.

There is a great deal of room for defending against embezzlement charges due to the elements that must be included. Regardless of the accusations, prosecutors must provide evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a standard that is often difficult to meet. An experienced attorney, committed to the best possible defense of clients, is often instrumental in analyzing evidence and helping those in Massachusetts decide how to best respond to these accusations.