Suppose you have been entrusted with handling another party’s finances or property, like in a corporate or organizational setting. In this case, you risk being accused of embezzlement and getting charged in court.
Embezzlement is a white-collar crime that involves a breach of trust and theft of finances or property (assets) that was under your watch. You must take the accusations seriously if you are accused of embezzlement in Ashville, NC. Make sure you speak to an Asheville embezzlement lawyer as soon as possible and seek legal defense.
While financial crimes like embezzlement appear less concerning than violent crimes, they are categorized as serious felonies under North Carolina state law. You could face steep fines and a lengthy jail sentence if convicted of embezzlement.
At Edwards Law, we provide top-notch white-collar crime defense services across Western North Carolina. Call (828) 702-8743 to discuss your embezzlement case with a competent embezzlement defense lawyer from Ashville, NC.
Embezzlement cases can be pretty complex as the accused person is usually the one who was tasked with safeguarding the assets that have been stolen. North Carolina state law establishes several classifications under which a person can commit the offense of embezzlement.
It’s unlawful for an officer or other person tasked with safekeeping, passing on, or disbursing public funds to pocket the said funds. This implies that the party entrusted with money or property by another must act in a rationally expected manner with the said assets.
A vital component of North Carolina’s legal definition of embezzlement is that the accused must have been aware that the funds weren’t intended for their use when they took it.
For instance, if a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) skimmed the company’s money to buy themselves a holiday home, they likely committed embezzlement. The CFO undoubtedly had a formal responsibility over the funds, given their position in the corporation. They were also aware that the money they took wasn’t meant to be utilized for their gain.
Some common examples of embezzlement include:
The federal government may enter into a North Carolina embezzlement case and charge the accused individual if the alleged crime involves federal government assets. An accomplished Asheville embezzlement lawyer can examine the facts of your case and come up with a solid defense to absolve you of the accusations or get you a lighter sentence.
The penalties you could face if convicted of embezzlement in North Carolina largely depend on the value of assets you allegedly stole and the nature of your relationship and the victim organization or corporation.
If you are an employee of the victim corporation, you could face a Class C felony charge if the assets involved are valued at $100,000 or greater. If the embezzled assets are valued at less than $100,000, you can be charged with a Class H felony.
If you are a public employee or official accused of embezzling funds or property amounting to more than $100,000, you could face a Class C felony charge. If the funds and property involved were less than $100,000, you could face a Class F felony charge.
The penalties for these felony embezzlement classifications for persons with no criminal record in North Carolina include:
Other penalties you may receive include imposition costs of prosecution and potential fines. You could also be asked to pay the victim restitution — the value of the assets you embezzled.
If you embezzle federal government funds or property in North Carolina, the federal government will likely charge you with a federal crime. Penalties for federal embezzlement for assets valued over $1,000 include potential fines and up to 10 years imprisonment. If the assets involved are under $1000, you face possible fines and up to one-year imprisonment.
Remember that an embezzlement conviction means you will have a criminal record, which could have other lifelong consequences. These consequences could include difficulty finding and keeping education, employment, and housing opportunities. Hiring a competent criminal defense lawyer from Edwards Law to defend you against the embezzlement charges you are facing will help you get a better outcome.
The prosecution carries the burden of proof for both state and federal embezzlement cases in North Carolina. The prosecution must meet the following criteria to support the embezzlement charge against you in court:
There are numerous potential defense tactics that Doug Edwards can apply in your embezzlement case to get you the best outcome, including:
Your embezzlement lawyer in Asheville, NC, can argue that the prosecution evidence doesn’t prove a fiduciary relationship existed between you and the victim. If the prosecution can’t demonstrate a fiduciary relationship, your embezzlement charge will be reduced to larceny.
You can trust our legal team to dedicate all its efforts towards securing you the best possible outcome. At Edwards Law, Doug Edwards has been providing criminal defense to persons accused of white-collar crimes, such as embezzlement in Asheville, NC, for years.