Columbus Embezzlement Lawyer
Assisting Individuals in Columbus, Ohio with Defending against a Criminal Embezzlement Charge
Embezzlement charges do not always involve large amounts of money that an individual misappropriates from a large corporation. In fact, there are many different ways that individuals may commit an embezzlement crime. If you are charged with and convicted of an embezzlement crime, you may be looking at jail time, monetary fines, and other serious consequences. You will also likely face numerous collateral consequences following a conviction for embezzlement. For example, a conviction can make it more difficult for you to obtain employment or find a place to live, given the wide availability of public access to criminal records.
If you have been charged with an embezzlement crime, you need an attorney representing you who is used to handling these cases on a regular basis and taking them to court. The knowledgeable team of Columbus white collar crime lawyers at the Joslyn Law Firm is ready to assist you with defending you in your legal matter today.
Please give us a call today at 614-444-1900 or contact us online to learn more about how we could help you defend against a Columbus embezzlement charge.
Overview of Embezzlement Charges in OH
- What is Embezzlement?
- What Penalties for an Embezzlement Conviction?
- Possible Legal Defenses for Embezzlement
- Speak to an Experienced Lawyer
What is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is a type of theft that involves someone taking something to deprive an owner when they were entrusted to manage or monitor that property. This is different than theft when a person has no legal access to the property to begin with.
In order to convict you on a criminal embezzlement charge in Columbus, the prosecutor handling your case is required to satisfy several legal elements. If he or she cannot demonstrate these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, the embezzlement charge can end up getting dismissed. In order to prove embezzlement, the criminal prosecutor must ordinarily show that:
- That you had a legitimate reason to control or possess money or something else of value for the benefit of the owner
- That you did not have legal title or ownership over the subject property
- That you misappropriated the subject money or property for your own use
In many cases, embezzlement involves some form of employee theft. For example, a checkout clerk might pocket money from a cash register and attempt to cover up any inconsistencies. Embezzlement also includes falsifying payroll records, doctoring overtime records, and engaging in fraudulent billing schemes. Engaging in a Ponzi scheme can also qualify as embezzlement.
What Penalties Can You Face for an Embezzlement Conviction?
An obvious question is if you can spend time in jail for an embezzlement conviction. The fact is that the State of Ohio treats embezzlement as a type of theft offense, and if you are ultimately convicted, you may be required to spend time in jail, pay fines, or suffer other serious consequences. Since Ohio views embezzlement as theft, the penalties for a conviction will depend on numerous factors, including the type and value of the property stolen, as well as your past criminal record, if any. For example, the penalties for a conviction might be enhanced in cases where the alleged victim was an elderly person, disabled individual, an active member of the military, the spouse of an active military person, or a member of some other protected classification.
Specifically, the penalties that a sentencing judge might impose for an embezzlement conviction can include any of the following:
- A total of 180 days in jail, along with a maximum monetary fine of $1,000, if the subject property had a value of under $1,000
- A total of six months to one year in jail, along with maximum monetary fines of $2,000, if the subject property had a value of at least $1,000 but less than $7,500
- A total of between six months and 18 months in jail, along with a maximum monetary fine of $5,000, if the subject property had a value of at least $7,500 but less than $150,000
- A minimum of nine months and a maximum of 36 months in jail, along with a maximum fine of $10,000, if the subject property had a value of at least $150,000 but less than $750,000
Moreover, if the embezzlement involved theft from one or more individuals who were members of a protected class, then the accused could be charged with a fifth-degree felony. The accused may face a higher criminal charge, depending upon the value of the subject property.
An experienced Columbus embezzlement lawyer can represent you at your sentencing hearing and work to minimize the potential penalties that an individual may incur upon conviction.
Potential Legal Defenses to a Columbus Embezzlement Charge
If you have been charged with embezzlement in Columbus, there are various legal defenses that your attorney may be able to raise on your behalf at trial. For example, your lawyer could argue that you lacked the specific intent to commit an embezzlement crime. In order for you to be guilty of embezzlement, you must have had the specific intent to misappropriate property that was under your control. If you held a reasonable belief that you were the true owner of the subject property, then that may be sufficient to negate the specific intent element of the offense.
Also, when defending against a criminal embezzlement charge, you might be able to allege that you acted under duress (i.e., that someone threatened you with death or serious bodily harm if you did not commit the embezzlement offense) and/or that law enforcement personnel unlawfully entrapped or coerced you into committing the offense.
Speak to a Columbus Embezzlement Lawyer about Your Criminal Legal Matter Today
If you have been arrested or charged with committing a crime of embezzlement, it is important that you have legal counsel in your corner representing you throughout your criminal case – including at all of your criminal legal proceedings in court. The criminal defense attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm can explain the strengths and weaknesses of your case and can help you advance a strong defense in the courtroom. In the alternative, we can help you negotiate a favorable plea deal with the state prosecutor who is handling your criminal case.
To schedule a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a Columbus embezzlement attorney experienced in white collar crime cases, please call us at 614-444-1900 to learn more about how we can assist you. We represent those charged in Franklin County and central Ohio counties, including Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County and Fairfield County in Ohio.