Theft involves the taking of property that someone does not have the legal right to. But what happens when someone is responsible for maintaining money or assets and they misappropriate that property for their own personal use or gain?
Embezzlement crimes fall under the umbrella of property theft. Embezzlement occurs when one entrusted to manage or monitor someone else’s money or property, steals money or property for his or her own personal gain. A main component of embezzlement includes the defendant having legal access to another’s money or property, but not legal ownership of it. The taking of another's money or property for the defendant’s own gain is stealing. When combined with the fact that the theft was committed by someone in a special position of trust, you get the crime of embezzlement, which is a unique but a very serious criminal charge.
Embezzlement Lawyer in Salt Lake City
If you have been charged with a theft crime such as embezzlement in Salt Lake City UT or surrounding area’s it is important to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP represents clients in Weber County, Wasatch County, Utah County, Tooele County, Summit County, Morgan County, Davis County, Cache County, and Box Elder County.
Contact Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP at (801) 532-5297 for a free no obligation consultation.
Embezzlement Information Center
Most states, including Utah, punishes embezzlement based on the value or type of property stolen. Under Utah Code Ann. § 76-6-412, embezzlement is punished as follows:
- Money or property worth less than $500 is classified as a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
- $500 or more, but less than $1,500 is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail.
- $1,500 or more, but less $5,000 is classified as a third-degree felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison, or both.
- $5,000 or more is classified as a second-degree felony, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and one to 15 years in prison, or both.
Utah may also require that those convicted of embezzlement pay restitution to their victims for the monetary value of the property or the property embezzled.
When a charge is aggravated, it carries harsher penalties. Embezzlement charges become aggravated when a defendant embezzled from a specially protected class of victims, such as the elderly or disabled adults. When a victim had a heightened level of trust with the offender, a charge can be aggravated as well. Common examples of individuals who yield a heightened level of trust include a defendant who is a public servant, an insurance company employee, or a bank employee.
Under Utah Criminal Code § 76-6-403, an accusation of embezzlement may be supported by evidence that the crime was committed in any manner specified under Utah Code § 76-6-404 through 76-6-410.
Embezzlement typically involves defendant’s control of cash, credit, or negotiable instruments such as checks and promissory notes. A few examples of how these crimes are committed include:
- cash- this frequently occurs in businesses with employees who regularly handle large amounts of cash and involves workers pocketing money that was intended go to the establishment without recording a sale so there is no discrepancy. This can also involve the misappropriation of a company’s “petty cash” funds.
- account management- alleged offenders may falsify bank statements, balance sheets, or payments to vendors, consultants, repair companies, or other entities to disguise funds that have actually been drawn for personal use.
- payroll- people employed as managers or other positions of power at larger businesses may have friends or relatives draw checks from the company even though they are not actual employees.
- lapping- an alleged offender who is responsible for accepting regular payments from multiple entities misallocates the actual amounts to disguise funds they have diverted for his or her own personal use.
- other company property- not all instances of this crime involve money. In some cases, alleged offenders may misappropriate funds or simply take property such as computers, office equipment, or vehicles.
Many alleged offenders believe that they lacked criminal intent because they had the intention to pay back or the intent to return stolen assets to their rightful owner.
Embezzlement occurs most often in the following industries:
- charitable organizations
- banks and financial institutions
- homeowner associations
- religious organizations; and
- bars, restaurants, and hospitality establishments.
Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP | Embezzlement Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one was recently arrested or believe you are under investigation for embezzling some kind of assets, having legal representation will give you the best chance at securing a favorable outcome. The criminal defense lawyers of Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP take the time to investigate all details of your embezzlement charges and aggressively defend your rights.
We pride ourselves on protecting the rights of all clients facing criminal accusations throughout the State of Utah. For your convenience, we have an office located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Contact Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP at (801) 532-5297 for a no obligation consultation today.