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Understanding embezzlement and how to defends against charges

You may hear about embezzlement cases in the news, but what exactly is embezzlement? In the simplest sense, embezzlement occurs when someone has permission to handle money for a company or organization but takes it for personal use. This means that someone may have stolen money outright or diverted funds into an account for themselves. It differs from theft in that the individual had permission to be handling the funds.

Sometimes this takes the form of a cashier taking money from the till. In more advanced instances, it could be an account manager diverting funds from the company for their personal gain. Companies may take different actions when they realize what has happened, from reprimands or termination to legal prosecution depending on the severity of the case.

Defenses for embezzlement

If an employer, or former employer, has accused you of embezzlement, you may be feeling a large amount of stress. An accusation does not mean that you are guilty of a crime—only that a company has found a reason to suspect you of misappropriating their funds for your personal use. That may not have been what happened and an attorney can help you prove your innocence by contesting different elements of embezzlement:

  • It could have been another employee: While it may have appeared you were involved, someone else could have embezzled money in a way that cast the suspicion on you. It would be up to your attorney to demonstrate how this happened.
  • You though the money was for you: Accidents happen, and you may have taken money from the company that you thought was for you. There may have been very good reasons you thought the funds were yours to use and your lawyer will help you show that.

If you find yourself charged with embezzlement, you may feel emotional, but it is always best to stay calm. This can help prevent tense situations from escalating even further. It also allows you an opportunity to explain the situation in a reasonable manner, which may take care of the company’s accusation altogether after they understand what happened.

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