Embezzlement is one of the most notorious types of theft punishable by law. The name alone conjures up images of high-profile bankers executing clever schemes to make off with millions in ill-gotten gains. The reality, however, is that embezzlement is a crime that can range from a minor incident to a massive conspiracy. Regardless of the circumstances of a particular incident, embezzlement is taken very seriously and the punishments placed on offenders reflect just how serious the justice system takes this crime.
What Is Embezzlement?
All too often, inexperienced investors who are looking to make a return on their money are taken advantage of by unscrupulous advisors. Usually, this type of behavior is due to an act of embezzlement.
Embezzlement occurs when a trusting investor places money or assets into the care of an individual or company who promises a return on the initial investment. The embezzler will then take steps to make it appear as if the investor’s money is guaranteed to provide a significant return. In fact, the embezzler will divert the investment into their own personal accounts. Often, this activity will take place before the investor has a chance to learn the true destination of their funds.
Penalties for Embezzlement
Embezzlement can occur at any level of investment but the penalties for this type of fraudulent financial behavior are strict no matter what the degree of investment. However, the penalties for embezzlement will generally increase according to the amount of money or property that has been stolen or the degree to which the investor has been duped.
For example, an embezzlement scheme that subverts monetary investments will result in the responsible party being forced to return all misdirected funds to the initial investor. This return of money is known as restitution. Restitution can apply to whatever the investment consisted of originally, from monetary deposits to housing deeds and car titles.
In some cases, the restitution amount will be compounded with any interest that would have accrued with the investment or with fees that were spent on lawyers and court proceedings in the process of securing the restitution.
Jail Time for Embezzlers
If the effects of an embezzlement scheme are severe enough, the guilty party can face serious jail or prison terms as a form of punishment. This punishment can occur if the embezzling party cannot afford to fully pay restitution or if their scheme has resulted in very significant damages.
For example, in most states, if the embezzlement amount exceeds $100,000, the guilty party can face a prison term of up to 25 years in addition to any and all restitution payments.
How to Deal With an Embezzlement Case
Due to the very common nature of embezzlement cases and fraud schemes, anyone investing a significant amount of money is strongly advised to secure a certified, experienced financial attorney before investing their money.
If a fraud scheme occurs, the victim should not attempt to secure restitution on their own terms. Rather, they should immediately seek legal counsel from an embezzlement lawyer to ensure that they receive the full amount of money or property lost to the fraudulent party.
Mario Madrid and his associates at Madrid Law have been serving criminal defendants (or residents) in the Houston area for many years. They specialize in many areas of law, including theft, drugs and narcotics, crimes against children, federal offenses, DWI, violent crimes and immigration. If you are in need of an attorney in the greater Houston area, contact Madrid Law.