Chesterfield County Embezzlement Lawyer

While Virginia law classifies embezzlement as a larceny or theft offense, in some respects, the offense is potentially more serious since the aspect of betrayal or abuse of trust which may entail. This relationship of trust is inherent in an embezzlement offense, which may involve employees and employers or any situation in which money or property changes hands.

As the consequences of an embezzlement conviction may be severe, individuals facing any type of embezzlement-related accusations may be recommended to consult a Chesterfield County embezzlement lawyer at their earliest convenience.

Cases involving allegations of embezzlement might be complex, in that they typically involve multiple documents and records that are necessary to prove that the offense occurred. Experts, which may include forensic accountants and auditors, may be necessary to examine the evidence and determine whether wrongdoing actually exists in some complex cases.

Given the potential consequences of an embezzlement conviction, individuals could contact a fraud defense attorney for advice.

Embezzlement Defined

Embezzlement may occur when individuals wrongfully and fraudulently exercise control over money or personal property that might have been entrusted to them by another as a result of their employment, office, or position of trust. Virginia Code § 18.2-111 equates embezzlement with larceny or theft.

While individuals who embezzle might lawful possession of the property as a result of their position, those who commit larceny may take property to which they have no right to lawfully possess.

The two offenses are similar, though, in that individuals who commit these offenses both have the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of the property of its use or possession. Individuals in both situations use the money or property for their own personal benefit or gain.

Situations That Constitute the Financial Dishonesty

Embezzlement may involve grand schemes causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses or simple scams that could easily allow them to pocket a few dollars from time to time.

A cashier in a grocery store or other retailer easily could skim small amounts of money from the register over time. Local government employees who handle utility payments may forge records and keep the proceeds for personal use.

In a large corporate setting, an employee dealing with payroll and accounts could generate payments for fictitious accounts and employees who are no longer are on the company’s payroll. Depending on the situation, Schemes of this manner could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.

When facing any type of embezzlement charges, the penalties are potentially severe, so getting advice from an embezzlement lawyer in Chesterfield County could be useful.

Potential Embezzlement Penalties

Penalties for embezzlement are identical to those for larceny or theft. The classification of the offense and the penalties for it are based upon the value of the property or money that is the subject of the embezzlement.

Embezzlement of property valued at less than $500 constitutes petit larceny, which Virginia Code § 18.2-96 establishes as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Potential penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor conviction may include a jail sentence of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500.

For those who embezzle property valued at more than $500, the charge is grand larceny, which is a felony offense under Virginia Code § 18.2-95. A conviction on grand larceny may result in a maximum 20-year prison sentence. The sentencing judge does have the discretion to impose a far lesser sentence which may include a jail sentence of up to 12 months and a $2,500 fine. A Chesterfield County lawyer could help a person facing embezzlement charges build a defense for any potential penalties.

How a Chesterfield County Embezzlement Could Help

Beyond the criminal penalties for an embezzlement conviction, the collateral consequences of being found guilty of this type of offense could be substantial. A criminal conviction involving deception or dishonesty in the context of employment could make it difficult to find another job or continue in particular industries that require an element of trust long after you may have served your sentence. Contacting a Chesterfield County embezzlement lawyer may be crucial to avoiding or minimizing these negative repercussions.

If you are facing any allegations of embezzlement, you may owe it to yourself to get legal advice at the outset of your case. Any delays in seeking legal help may be prejudicial to the ultimate outcome of your charges.