What is embezzlement and what are the consequences?

With every type of criminal case, there are certain elements that must exist in order for a prosecuting attorney to prove a particular case and obtain a conviction. This week's column will go over the ins and out of embezzlement -- a very common in crime in Louisiana and elsewhere. It will also address the elements needed in order for one to be convicted.

When a person is placed in a position of responsibility or trust over certain assets and he or she takes or uses those assets for his or her own personal gain, he or she is said to have committed embezzlement. This often happens in corporate or other employment settings. This may involve money, or it may involve other items, such as computers, cars or other types of property.

Embezzlement schemes are often quite creative. There are those who just take large amounts of money in one shot, but others like to take assets in smaller amounts over a long period of time. Examples of embezzlement methods include:

  • Falsifying records
  • Fraudulent billing
  • Paying non-existent employees
  • Ponzi schemes

The list really can go on and on. As far as elements needed in an embezzlement case for prosecuting attorneys to achieve conviction, there are four. They are:

  • Proof of a fiduciary relationship
  • Proof that the property was acquired through that relationship
  • Proof that the property transferred to oneself or someone else
  • Proof that the property was taken intentionally

As the effects of embezzlement can be far reaching and the victims many, anyone in Louisiana or elsewhere accused of such activity is likely to face the full brunt of the criminal justice system. It is simply a crime that is not taken lightly. While fighting an embezzlement charge will not prove to be an easy feat, there are defense options available that can help an individual who is facing such charges achieve the best outcome possible.

Source: FindLaw, "Embezzlement", Accessed on Nov. 15, 2017

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