What is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is a crime in California found under CA Penal Code 503 (CA PC503). There is a serious stigma attached to this offense and a charge may affect your future, including your chances of employment. If you have been accused of embezzlement, you should contact The Law Offices of Nicola Fitzgerald immediately to discuss your case. Over the years, The Law Offices of Nicola Fitzgerald has helped many clients resolve these charges either by out of court settlement, plea negotiation or court trial.
Embezzlement is actually a specific form of theft or fraud. This means that it can also be charged under CA Penal Code 487 as a kind of grand theft, or CA Penal Code 488 as a kind of petty theft, depending on the value of the property concerned.
You might have heard embezzlement referred to as a ‘white-collar’ crime – this is because employees or other professionals usually commit it. What makes embezzlement different to other kinds of theft offenses is that it involves property that has been entrusted to someone. This aspect is clearly outlined in the definition of embezzlement – the Penal Code defines embezzlement as unlawfully taking the property of someone else by the person to whom it has been entrusted.
If you are accused of embezzlement, it means that you are being accused of taking property that you already lawfully had in your possession, or that you had access to. For example, a cashier in a store has access to the money in the register but it is not theirs. If they take money from the register, then that could be embezzlement.
Can I settle this out of court?
Yes – depending on what stage your case it at, and the exact nature of the accusations against you, an attorney may be able to help you reach an out-of-court, civil compromise. At The Law Offices of Nicola Fitzgerald, the goal is always the compromise or full dismissal of charges. Over the years, we have successfully resolved many embezzlement cases for our clients outside of court.
It is essential to try to settle any matter as soon as possible, and certainly before the case goes to trial. Your best chance of doing this is with the assistance of a lawyer who has experience in these kinds of cases.
Do I really need a lawyer?
Yes, you do. Not only is it your right, but your best chance of fighting the case against you is by having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. The Law Offices of Nicola Fitzgerald has handled many cases of high-dollar embezzlement allegations that never saw the inside of a courtroom – we are your best chance of making sure that you can avoid court too.
Any criminal accusation is a serious matter and, in the case of embezzlement, may have consequences for the rest of your life. If you are facing an accusation of embezzlement, contact The Law Offices of Nicola Fitzgerald as soon as possible for a free consultation with our experienced attorneys.
Who can be charged with embezzlement?
Anyone can be charged with this offense. However, because of the ‘trust’ element of the offense, it is often people such as employees, those involved in running companies, and other professionals, who find themselves facing embezzlement charges.
Keep in mind that any level of employee or professional can be charged with embezzlement—from the directors of large companies to casual sales staff. Whoever you are and whatever position you hold, you should take any accusation or charge of embezzlement seriously, and contact The Law Offices of Nicola Fitzgerald for advice immediately.
What should I say to the police?
Nothing – you only have to tell them your name and address, and show some identification if requested. Other than that, it’s best to not say anything at all to the police – your lawyer will speak for you. If you are arrested, you or your family should contact The Law Offices of Nicola Fitzgerald immediately.
When you are arrested, the police are required to tell you about your rights. These include your right to silence, and your right to a lawyer. These rights are important and you should take full advantage of them. Being charged and going through the arrest process can be a scary and intimidating process, and it’s natural for you to want to defend or explain yourself. Keep in mind, though, that nothing you say at that point is likely to stop the police from charging you. Your best chance of presenting a good defense is by remaining silent and consulting a lawyer as soon as you can. The Law Offices of Nicola Fitzgerald has defended many cases and it has never, ever helped someone when they’ve spoken to the police – in fact, many people have hurt their cases by doing so. The early intervention of an experienced embezzlement attorney from The Law Offices of Nicola Fitzgerald is by far your most effective defense strategy.