Have you been accused of embezzling money or assets from your employer? Successfully fighting such a charge is vital not only to avoid legal penalties that often include fines and jail time but also to protect your career. So, what are some of the best defenses against this type of white-collar crime accusation? Here are five that may apply in your situation.
1. Lack of Intent
One of the four major standards that an embezzlement case must prove is that you intended to defraud your employer. Accidents do happen, and a person may not be liable for something they didn't intend to occur. In the absence of written or witnessed proof showing that you set out to commit fraud, this could be very hard for the prosecution to demonstrate.
2. Good-Faith Actions
One key foundation of embezzlement is that the person intended to enrich themselves personally. But some employees may have acted in the honest belief that they were acting correctly for their employer. For example, if you moved money for a key employee under the honest belief that it was moved for company purposes, your participation may have been done in good faith.
3. Lack of Evidence
Evidence in embezzlement cases can be strong, or it may be weak. This evidence generally has two parts. First, one must prove that the assets were taken. Simply citing that items are missing from inventory doesn't necessarily show that these were stolen. The second part is proving that you were the one who took them. If the entire department shared one access code to inventory storage, your presence may not be enough to prove that you were the one who used that code improperly.
The defense of duress is a more difficult case to prove, but it is possible. Duress is a threat that forced a person to feel they had no choice but to take an action. It generally includes threats of violence. However, for employees who may resort to embezzlement out of financial or personal desperation, duress does not include citing the pressures of life.
5. Lack of Fiduciary Duty
The fiduciary duty is the responsibility of some parties to act in the best interests of another party — in this case, their employer. If there was no fiduciary responsibility, an employee cannot have breached it in a fraudulent way. Disproving this duty can be challenging, but it may be possible even for an employee/employer relationship.
Where to Start
While your case may be successfully won using any of these defenses, doing so is difficult. You need to get help from a white-collar criminal defense lawyer in your state. Make an appointment today to learn how you can find the best chances of success and start moving forward.
After I was accused of committing crime that I knew I wasn't guilty of, I realized that there were a few things I needed to take care of, and fast. For starters, I needed to focus on fighting for my reputation by working with a criminal attorney. I started looking around for a great lawyer who was qualified to take my case, and I was able to find a professional that I really felt comfortable with. They had a ton of experience and a commitment to keeping me happy, and within a few short months I was proven innocent. This blog is all about fighting for what you know is right.