Defending against allegations of embezzlement in Connecticut
A variety of crimes are considered “white-collar:” they involve property theft without the use of physical violence. Embezzlement is a common example of white-collar crime, and authorities in Connecticut take allegations of embezzlement extremely seriously.
In many theft crimes, a person takes something without permission. In the case of embezzlement, the offender was initially trusted to possess or manage the property by the rightful owner temporarily. However, they breached that trust by wrongfully keeping the property for themselves.
Being accused of embezzlement is a serious matter, and these cases can be complex. It is critical to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands embezzlement charges in Connecticut.
Call Duffy Law in New Haven at 203-946-2000 for a free consultation with our qualified embezzlement defense attorneys.
What constitutes embezzlement?
Allegations of embezzlement can arise from many situations and can involve a small amount of property or millions of dollars. Some examples of embezzlement cases included the following:
- A bank teller pockets money from a deposit.
- A store cashier takes money from the register.
- A corporate accountant falsifies records to keep a portion of the profits.
- A payroll manager creates fake payroll accounts for himself or a family member.
- A manager creates fake invoices to pay herself.
- A caregiver writes checks to himself when he is paying the bills for his charge.
- An investment broker siphons money instead of investing it.
Embezzlement can be a one-time occurrence or a scheme that continues over an extended period of time. The complexity of an embezzlement case often depends on the complexity of the alleged scheme. In some cases, authorities may be investigating a scheme for some time before they make an arrest, which means there may be substantial evidence for the prosecutor to prove the charges. If you believe you are being investigated or have been arrested for embezzlement, you should contact a defense attorney as soon as possible.
Potential consequences of an embezzlement conviction in CT
Connecticut law bases the possible penalties for an embezzlement conviction on the value of the property that was allegedly misappropriated, which can vary widely. For example, a cashier may take a $20 bill out of the register one time. On the other hand, corporate embezzlement schemes can easily involve millions of dollars. One of the most notorious embezzlement cases in the United States involved an estimated $65 billion due to a fraudulent investment scheme. Therefore, possible penalties must be assessed based on the specific allegations in the case.
The following are some of the potential consequences if you are convicted of embezzlement in Connecticut:
For property valued at $500 or less:
- Class C misdemeanor charges
- Maximum sentence of three months in jail and a $500 fine
For property valued between $500 and $1,000:
- Class B misdemeanor charges
- Maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine
For property valued between $1,000 and $2,000:
- Class A misdemeanor charges
- Maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine
For property valued between $2,000 and $10,000:
- Class D felony charges
- Maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine
- Also applies to embezzlement of a vehicle worth up to $10,000, public records, inventions or scientific secrets, or biological samples
For property valued between $10,000 and $20,000:
- Class C felony charges
- Maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine
- Also applies to embezzlement of a vehicle worth more than $10,000, of certain public property, or if the alleged victim was disabled, blind, or elderly
For property valued over $20,000:
- Class B felony charges
- Maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $15,000 fine
- Also applies to embezzlement of vehicles worth more than $20,000 or public property worth more than $2,000
As you can see, Connecticut law can be harsh on individuals who are convicted of embezzlement, especially for property of higher value.
At Duffy Law, our attorneys have experience in both misdemeanor defense and felony defense in Connecticut state criminal courts. Embezzlement is also a crime under federal law, and federal authorities may intervene in your case and charge you at the federal level in some cases. Our legal team has extensive experience in federal criminal court as well and can aggressively defend against your charges at the state or federal level.
Defenses to embezzlement charges
There are different ways to defend against embezzlement charges, and your defense should be tailored to the allegations against you. Some defenses include:
- You believed in good faith that you had a right to take the property.
- You had legal authority to take the property through your role of trustee, power of attorney, or another agency position.
- You did not know to return the property because the owner did not demand so.
In addition to identifying and presenting relevant legal defenses, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor for a favorable plea deal, helping you avoid jail time whenever possible. A lawyer will also represent you at all court appearances and guide you through the often confusing criminal process.
Contact Duffy Law to discuss your embezzlement charges with a skilled Connecticut criminal defense attorney
When you call Duffy Law, you will get a free and confidential case evaluation with no obligation. Our attorneys have extensive experience with the criminal justice system, as Felice Duffy is a former federal prosecutor and Paul Thomas is a former federal defender. Together, they provide an aggressive and thorough defense for every client and build the most effective defense strategy based on the circumstances of your case. They will work to minimize the consequences you face and ensure your rights are protected. Contact Duffy Law in New Haven for a free consultation today at 203-946-2000.