Petersburg Embezzlement Lawyer

Embezzlement charges tend to be complex, as they may depend on extensive financial records and transactions that stretch over a long period of time. Whether you are facing embezzlement charges based on false accusations, errors in recordkeeping, poor judgment, or other extenuating circumstances, it might be difficult to understand the charges against you and the evidence in support of those charges.

With the help of a Petersburg embezzlement lawyer, you may be able to more successfully navigate the criminal justice system. A well-practiced attorney could work toward creating the strongest defense possible in your case.

Legal Definition of Embezzlement

Embezzlement is a crime against property that may occur only in a situation in which individuals hold a position of trust, similar to their employment or public office, and wrongfully appropriate the property entrusted to them.

In committing embezzlement, individuals fraudulently use, convert, conceal, or dispose of another’s property with the intentions of permanently depriving the owner of the usage of the property.

Embezzlement is distinguishable from larceny in that individuals who commit larceny had no right to take or possess the property that was the subject of the larceny.

Individuals who commit embezzlement may have rightful possession and/or access to the property or money by virtue of their positions, but not ownership of the property. As a Petersburg embezzlement lawyer could explain, these individuals may use the property for their own gain or for other unlawful purposes, which constitutes embezzlement.

Common Situations Involving Misappropriation of Funds

The most common scenario may involve embezzlement concerns employee theft from an employer, but embezzlement might also occur in other contexts.

Embezzlement could be as simple as employees in retail stores who skim money from the cash register or who process fraudulent returns for cash, credit, or gift cards for themselves or for their loved ones by using merchandise already listed in the store’s inventory.

On a larger scale, a supervisor in a large corporation who oversees payroll could issue fictitious paychecks using false identities or falsify records to embezzle funds from the company. Whether embezzlement involves a small town drugstore or a large international corporation, the penalties may be equally severe.

Consequences of a Conviction

Under Virginia Code § 18.2-111, embezzlement is treated as larceny or theft. The penalties for embezzlement, like those for larceny, depend upon the value of the property or money that individuals have embezzled. A defendant’s attorney could estimate which penalties the court may charge them with based on the value of the alleged embezzlement.

If the value of the property is less than $500, the criminal offense is petit larceny, a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia Code § 18.2-96, which might result in a jail sentence of up to 12 months, a fine of up to $2,500, and restitution for the value of the property embezzled.

Embezzlement of property valued at $500 or greater could constitute felony grand larceny pursuant to Virginia Code § 18.2-95, which might carry a potential penalty ranging from one to 20 years in prison. A judge or jury may have the discretion to impose a jail sentence of up to 12 months, a $2,500 fine, or both, for grand larceny. An individual could work with a lawyer in Petersburg to learn what possible defenses may be available to them.

How a Petersburg Embezzlement Attorney Could Help

In many cases, embezzlement charges will constitute a felony under Virginia law, which might result in a lengthy prison term.

Aside from the penalties imposed by the criminal justice system, individuals may suffer immediate job loss if the offense was related to employment, loss of the right to vote, loss of the right to carry a firearm, and a grand larceny felony conviction that could make them virtually unemployable. There are many potential defenses that may be applicable in your case.

Getting the advice of a Petersburg embezzlement lawyer may help you weigh the sufficiency of the evidence against you, consider your options, and make the decisions that are best calculated to resolve your case in a positive way.