Embezzlement Charges and Defenses

If you’re facing embezzlement charges, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. I get it. It’s a scary situation to be in, and the legal system can be confusing and intimidating. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to face this alone. With the right knowledge and a skilled defense attorney by your side, you can fight these charges and protect your rights.

Facing embezzlement charges can be overwhelming, but we’ve got your back. In this post, we’ll break it all down for you – from the different types of embezzlement to the potential consequences and defenses that could help you fight the charges. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a solid grasp on your situation and the next steps to take with confidence.

Table of Contents:

What Is Embezzlement?

Embezzlement is a serious white-collar crime that can lead to hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences. It’s a type of financial fraud where someone misappropriates funds or assets that were entrusted to them, often in a professional or employment setting.

I’ve seen countless cases where individuals faced embezzlement charges, and the consequences can be devastating. Whether it’s a small business owner accused of skimming from the company coffers or a high-level executive charged with siphoning millions, an embezzlement case is no joke.

The legal definition of embezzlement varies by jurisdiction, but generally, it involves the intentional and unauthorized taking of money or property by someone who was trusted to manage or oversee those assets. It’s a breach of trust that can shatter relationships and destroy careers.

Embezzlement Can Be a State or Federal Crime

Depending on the circumstances, embezzlement can be prosecuted as a state or federal crime. Factors like the type of assets involved, the amount stolen, and whether interstate commerce was affected can determine whether it’s a state-level offense or a federal case.

As an embezzlement attorney, I’ve represented clients facing both state and federal charges. Trust me, you don’t want to navigate these complex legal waters alone. The stakes are high, and the consequences can be life-altering.

If you’re facing embezzlement charges, whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony charge, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner. Don’t wait until it’s too late to seek help. The sooner you have a skilled embezzlement lawyer on your side, the better your chances of mounting a strong defense and minimizing the potential fallout.

Common Types of Embezzlement Charges

Embezzlement comes in many forms, but some types of embezzlement charges are more common than others. In my years as a criminal defense lawyer, I’ve seen it all. Here are a few of the most prevalent types of embezzlement that can lead to criminal charges:

Embezzlement of Cash

One of the most straightforward forms of embezzlement involves the theft of cold, hard cash. I’ve handled numerous embezzlement cases where employees skimmed from the register, pocketed cash payments, or falsified expense reports to line their own pockets.

Embezzlement of Property

Embezzlement isn’t limited to cash. I’ve also represented clients accused of stealing tangible assets like inventory, equipment, or supplies from their employers. These white-collar crimes can be just as serious as stealing money.

Embezzlement of Services

Sometimes, embezzlement involves the misuse of services or resources. For example, an employee might use company vehicles or machinery for personal gain without authorization. These cases can be complex, but an experienced embezzlement attorney can help navigate the legal nuances.

Embezzlement by Employees

Employee embezzlement is one of the most common types of embezzlement I encounter. From low-level workers to high-ranking executives, employees in positions of trust can be tempted to abuse their access to company funds or assets.

Embezzlement by Fiduciaries

Fiduciaries like trustees, executors, or guardians are entrusted with managing assets on behalf of others. When they misuse those funds for personal gain, it’s a serious breach of trust that can result in embezzlement charges.

Potential Defenses Against Embezzlement Charges

If you’re facing embezzlement charges, don’t despair. An experienced embezzlement lawyer can explore a range of potential defenses to fight the accusations and protect your rights. Here are some common embezzlement defenses that may apply to your case:

Lack of Intent

One key element of embezzlement is intent. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to deprive the rightful owner of their property. If your actions were unintentional or the result of an honest mistake, your embezzlement defense attorney may be able to argue lack of intent.

Duress or Coercion

In some cases, an individual may commit embezzlement under duress or coercion. If you were threatened or forced to misappropriate funds against your will, your lawyer might raise a duress defense.

Insufficient Evidence

The burden of proof in a criminal case rests with the prosecution. If they lack sufficient evidence to prove embezzlement beyond a reasonable doubt, your embezzlement defense lawyer can argue for dismissal of the charges.


In rare cases, an individual may be lured or coerced into committing embezzlement by law enforcement. If entrapment occurred, it could be a viable defense against the charges.


If the accused was mentally incapacitated at the time of the alleged offense, they may lack the requisite intent to be guilty of embezzlement. An experienced embezzlement attorney can assess whether this defense applies to your case.

Penalties for Embezzlement Convictions in California

As an embezzlement lawyer practicing in California, I’ve seen firsthand how the penalties for embezzlement convictions can vary depending on the circumstances of the case. The severity of the punishment often hinges on factors like the value of the property stolen and the presence of any aggravating factors.

In the Golden State, embezzlement of property worth $950 or less is typically charged as petty theft, a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. But if the value of the embezzled assets exceeds $950, the stakes get much higher.

Embezzlement of property worth more than $950 is usually charged as grand theft, which can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor grand theft conviction can result in up to one year in county jail, while a felony conviction can lead to a state prison sentence of 16 months, two years, or even three years.

The court also considers aggravating factors when determining the appropriate sentence. If the embezzlement involved a significant amount of money, a lengthy period of time, or a particularly egregious breach of trust, the penalties can be enhanced.

How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help Fight Embezzlement Charges

If you’re facing embezzlement charges, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side. A knowledgeable embezzlement attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

When you hire a defense lawyer, they’ll start by conducting a thorough investigation into the allegations against you. They’ll gather evidence, interview witnesses, and identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. This groundwork is essential to building a strong defense tailored to your unique circumstances.

Your defense attorney will also work to protect your rights throughout the legal process. They’ll be by your side during questioning, ensure that you’re treated fairly by law enforcement, and advocate for your interests in court.

In many cases, an experienced embezzlement lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether. They may be able to arrange a plea bargain that minimizes the potential penalties or argue for alternatives to incarceration, such as restitution or community service.

If your case does go to trial, you’ll want a battle-tested criminal defense lawyer in your corner. They’ll present a compelling case on your behalf, challenge the prosecution’s evidence, and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome.

Don’t face embezzlement charges alone. Contact a skilled defense lawyer today to discuss your case and start building your defense. With the right legal representation, you can fight the charges and protect your future.

Key Takeaway:

Embezzlement isn’t just about pocketing cash; it spans stealing assets, misusing services, and betrayal by trusted employees or fiduciaries. Facing charges? An experienced lawyer can fight for you with defenses like lack of intent or insufficient evidence, potentially reducing or dismissing charges.


Embezzlement charges are serious, but they’re not unbeatable. With the right defense strategy and a skilled attorney in your corner, you can fight these charges and protect your future.

Step into the courtroom with this in mind: it’s the prosecution’s job to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their version of events is iron-clad and you’re guilty as charged. But that’s a pretty high bar, and it gives you some options. Maybe the evidence is flimsy or circumstantial. Perhaps you lacked criminal intent. Whatever the specifics, there are usually ways to punch holes in the prosecution’s case and give the jury a reason to doubt. Your goal? Fight tooth and nail to come out on top.

If you’re facing embezzlement accusations, you need a knowledgeable defense lawyer in your corner ASAP. They’ll break down your options, create a rock-solid defense, and go to bat for your rights every step of the way.

So if you’re facing embezzlement charges, don’t wait. Reach out to a skilled defense attorney today and start building your case. With the right help and a solid defense strategy, you can face these charges head-on and work towards the best possible outcome for your case.

Embezzlement Charges and Defenses