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Accused of Embezzlement? These 5 Defenses May Work

Posted on November 13, 2013 by Mintzer Law

Embezzlement charges involve the purposeful theft or misuse of company funds or property by an employee. It includes illegal activities such as theft of money or property, unauthorized transfer of funds, modifying financial records and falsifying or concealing financial information. Repaying an employer for the money or property that was embezzled could lead to a more lenient sentence.

Defenses for Stealing From Work

There are a number of defense strategies that can be employed in a workplace theft case. As with any criminal case, the prosecution will be required to prove every element of a criminal charge beyond any reasonable doubt. Depending on the nature and circumstances of a charge, a white-collar crimes lawyer may select one of the following defense strategies:

  • Insufficient evidence: Although a lack of evidence is a suitable defense for any alleged crime, it should be noted that 40 percent of all federal-level crimes involving embezzled funds are dismissed due to a lack of credible evidence.
  • Duress: If a defendant committed an illegal act because they were threatened or otherwise feared for their safety, a duress defense may be appropriate. Stealing money to fund drug use or a habit of illegal gambling does not qualify for this defense. Using a duress excuse is acceptable when an employee involuntarily participates in an theft scheme because they believed that refusing to do so would cost them their job.
  • Entrapment: This occurs when the government tries to compel an innocent party to commit a crime that they would not have otherwise committed. A sting operation does not generally constitute entrapment. Baiting someone to participate in an illegal act, on the other hand, may qualify. The prosecutor will probably argue that the defendant was predisposed to stealing regardless of government activities.
  • Insanity: An insanity defense is appropriate in only a small number of cases. It must be proven that the suspect was insane when the crime was committed or during the course of a trial.
  • Incapacity: This kind of defense is rarely successful in a case of employee theft, but it is still sometimes used. An example of a possible incapacity defense is showing that the alleged perpetrator was under the influence of medication when the crime was committed.

If your employer accused you of stealing from your workplace, schedule a free consultation with Rand Mintzer with 713-862-8880 to learn more about the possible legal defenses you can use in court.