DeKalb County Embezzlement Lawyer
Embezzlement is widely known as a white-collar crime, as it usually occurs in the context of a business. For instance, banks, investment firms, or government agencies all may be sources of embezzlement. White-collar crimes typically do not involve any violence or bodily harm; instead, the crimes purely involve money or property. Since the consequences for an embezzlement conviction may be harsh, getting advice from a DeKalb County embezzlement lawyer may be wise. Enlisting the help of a dedicated fraud attorney may be crucial to your ability to adequately defend yourself from these charges.
Embezzlement or Theft by Conversion
Embezzlement is a form of theft. However, embezzlement differs from theft in that it involves property or funds that the accused legally possesses. In a theft, the accused persons have no right to physical possession or access to the property in question.
According to The Official Code of Georgia § 16-8-4, embezzlement or theft by conversion occurs when individuals who have lawfully obtained property or funds belonging to others, knowingly convert them for their use. This section also addresses the situation in which officers or employees of a government entity or financial institution fail to pay on an account that they hold for others when lawfully asked to do so. This situation creates a presumption that the officers or employees intended to convert the funds for their benefit.
For instance, if account holders deposit money in a savings account, they are allowing the bank to have possession of their funds legally. However, if bank employees withdraw or transfer those funds for their use, they have committed embezzlement. Likewise, if investors invest money with a financial services firm, whose employees then use the money to benefit themselves, they likely have committed theft by conversion. An embezzlement lawyer in DeKalb County could defend and protect the rights of those accused of theft by conversion.
Penalties for Theft by Conversion
Theft by conversion is typically a misdemeanor offense under state law. However, there are various circumstances in which theft by conversion can become a felony charge. These situations include:
- Embezzlement involving property valued at $1,501.00 or more
- A third or subsequent embezzlement conviction
- Embezzlement by a fiduciary or by officers or employees of a government or financial institution employees in breach of their duties
The penalties that individuals can receive for theft by conversion depend primarily on the value of the funds or property embezzled. For instance, individuals who steal funds or property of $25,000 or more can face a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years under O.C.G.A. § 16-8-12.
Likewise, if the embezzlement involves funds or property worth $5,000 or more, but less than $25,000, the prison sentence ranges from one to ten years. If the funds or property or worth $1,500.01 or more, but less than $5,000, the prison sentence ranges from one to five years.
In either situation, the sentencing judge can sentence the offense as a misdemeanor or felony conviction. For a third or subsequent embezzlement conviction, the judge also can designate it as a misdemeanor or felony offense. An embezzlement attorney in DeKalb County may be able to raise the pertinent defenses in theft by conversion cases and work toward a more favorable resolution of the charges.
Contact a DeKalb County Embezzlement Attorney for Advice
The penalties for an embezzlement conviction can range widely from misdemeanors to felonies and, in some cases, from one to 20 years in prison. A felony conviction for theft by conversion could also result in collateral consequences such as loss of firearm privileges and the inability to run for public office or serve on juries. As a DeKalb County embezzlement lawyer may advise, individuals with felony convictions or any criminal convictions may encounter problems finding employment and pursuing some careers.
Due to the proliferation of these adverse consequences, taking steps to minimize your exposure to criminal liability in these cases can be crucial. Getting the legal advice that you need in this situation can be essential to achieving your goals.