Facing an embezzlement charge, as with many white-collar crimes, is not a straightforward matter. There are many nuances to an embezzlement case, and the overwhelming complexity of the situation can make it seem difficult to mount a strong defense.
Florida statutes define embezzlement as a third-degree felony. The penalties for a crime of this severity are steep, but there are definitive steps you can take to defend yourself if you find yourself accused of embezzlement.
Understand the prosecution process
Though it can feel like the odds are against you during an embezzlement case, the burden is on the prosecution to prove that you are capable of the act. To do so, the prosecutor must establish these key points:
- You have a relationship with the entity from which you stand accused of embezzling
- Your position empowers you to access or control financial accounts or systems
- You have the ability to take ownership of the embezzled property or transfer it to another party
- You have the intention to deprive the victimized entity of its property
Defending yourself against an embezzlement charge entails disputing the prosecution’s stance on any or all of the above points.
Build your embezzlement defense
In a best-case scenario, you and your defense team can simply refute the prosecution’s claims by citing insufficient evidence on their part. You might alternatively establish that your actions are the result of duress or a misunderstanding, therefore proving a lack of intent to embezzle. If the embezzled property is in your possession, you can substantiate a lack of intent or lessen the penalties before you by returning the property in a timely manner.
Conviction of embezzlement can have far-reaching consequences for your personal and professional life. You can protect yourself and your future by building a strong case for your defense.