Los Angeles Embezzlement Lawyer

Aggressive Defense Against Embezzlement Charges in California 

When accusations of embezzlement arise, the legal landscape can quickly become a labyrinth of complexities and uncertainties. At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, our seasoned legal team specializes in providing steadfast guidance and aggressive representation to individuals facing embezzlement charges in Los Angeles and throughout California. With a deep understanding of the intricacies of embezzlement cases, we work tirelessly to protect the rights and interests of our clients.

Call Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners today at (213) 481-6811 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our embezzlement attorney in Los Angeles! 

What is Embezzlement?

Embezzlement is a white-collar crime that involves the misappropriation or theft of funds entrusted to someone's care, typically by an employee or trusted individual. This offense occurs when an individual in a position of trust, such as an employee, manager, or officer, unlawfully converts funds or assets for personal gain. Common examples of embezzlement include manipulating financial records, diverting company funds, or siphoning off assets for personal use.

In most embezzlement cases, there is a relationship of trust and confidence between the defendant and the victim. If there is no relationship of trust, then you will be prosecuted under the theft law. Examples of relationships of trust include an employer and employee, a doctor and office manager, and a law firm and in-house accountant.

In order to obtain a conviction, the following elements must be proven:

  • The defendant had a relationship with the victim/owner;
  • The defendant was entrusted with a certain property or money;
  • The defendant misappropriated (transferred funds) entrusted to him or her for their own personal use or benefit; and
  • The defendant had the specific intent to deprive the owner of his or her property (by fraudulently taking it as their own).

Most embezzlement cases are uncovered as a result of an internal or external audit of the company, whistleblowers, or pure luck. Employees who handle money or the accounting for a company are the usual suspects in embezzlement cases. There are a number of employee profiles associated with embezzlement including:

  • Disgruntled and stressed out employees
  • Employees experiencing financial difficulties
  • Employees who have a drug or alcohol problem
  • Employees with a gambling problem
  • Employees who are living life on the edge
  • Employees who live beyond their means
  • Employees who never take a vacation.

What are the Penalties for Embezzlement in California?

In California, embezzlement is classified as a theft crime and is subject to penalties outlined in the California Penal Code. The severity of these penalties depends on various factors, including the value of the embezzled assets and the defendant's criminal history. Embezzlement can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, with potential consequences that may include:

Misdemeanor Embezzlement:

  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • County jail sentence of up to one year

Felony Embezzlement:

  • Fines of up to $10,000 or double the value of the embezzled property (whichever is greater)
  • State prison sentences range from 16 months to 3 years

Moreover, a conviction for embezzlement can have lasting repercussions beyond legal penalties, including damage to one's reputation and future employment prospects. Our experienced Los Angeles embezzlement lawyers are well-versed in navigating the nuances of California's legal system. They will diligently work to minimize the impact of these potential consequences on your life.

Defenses Against Embezzlement Charges

Crafting a strong defense against embezzlement charges requires an in-depth understanding of the case's legal aspects and the specific circumstances surrounding it. Our skilled attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners employ a strategic and tailored approach to each case, considering a range of defense strategies, including:

  • Lack of Intent: Proving embezzlement requires demonstrating intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of the property. We meticulously review the evidence to challenge the prosecution's case and establish that no criminal intent existed.
  • False Accusations: Sometimes, individuals may be wrongly accused due to misunderstandings, miscommunications, or ulterior motives. We investigate thoroughly to uncover any false allegations and inconsistencies in the case.
  • Mistaken Identity: Mistaken identity can also play a role in embezzlement cases. Our team rigorously examines the evidence and any potential discrepancies to establish a strong alibi for our clients.
  • Illegal Search and Seizure: If evidence was obtained unlawfully, it can be challenged in court. We scrutinize the methods by which evidence was gathered and work to suppress any illegally obtained materials.

Embezzlement FAQs

How is the value of embezzled property determined?

In California, the value of embezzled property is typically determined by the fair market value of the property at the time it was embezzled. If the property is not easily valued, such as in cases involving services or intangible assets, the value may be determined based on various factors, including the cost of replacing the property or the economic loss suffered by the victim.

Can someone be charged with embezzlement if they didn't intend to steal? 

Yes, in California, someone can be charged with embezzlement even if they did not have the intent to steal. Embezzlement charges can be based on the unauthorized appropriation of property, regardless of whether the person intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property. However, intent is a key factor in embezzlement cases, and lack of intent may be a defense that can be raised in court.

Are there any aggravating factors that can increase the severity of embezzlement charges in California?

Yes, there are several aggravating factors that can increase the severity of embezzlement charges in California. These may include embezzling funds from a vulnerable victim, such as an elderly person or a nonprofit organization, embezzling a large sum of money, embezzling from a government agency or financial institution, or committing multiple acts of embezzlement over an extended period. Aggravating factors can result in harsher penalties upon conviction.

Can an employer pursue civil action against an employee for embezzlement?

Yes, an employer can pursue civil action against an employee for embezzlement in addition to any criminal charges. Civil action may involve seeking restitution for the embezzled funds or property, as well as damages for any harm caused by the embezzlement. Employers may also have legal remedies available under employment contracts or other agreements.

What should I do if I've been accused of embezzlement? 

If you've been accused of embezzlement in California, it's crucial to seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help protect your rights, assess the evidence against you, and develop a strategy for your defense.

Contact Our Los Angeles Embezzlement Attorney Today

Embezzlement allegations can cast a shadow over your personal and professional life. With the experienced legal team at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners by your side, you can confidently face these accusations. We are dedicated to protecting your rights, crafting robust defense strategies, and working tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. 

Contact Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners today to schedule a consultation with our embezzlement lawyer in Los Angeles! 

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