Fraud is the most prevalent form of theft in business settings. This happens when someone takes property and money and uses it to gain some unfair benefit. Most cases of fraud involve some abuse of trust or deceit that differentiates them from other robbery types. Embezzlement marks the most common form of financial fraud you might be accused of by your employer. It happens when you steal money or assets you have been entrusted to manage.
Money, however, changes hands between many people in most corporate settings. Without criminal employment lawyers handling your defense in Denver courts, it is easy to become the fall guy for embezzlement in your firm. When accused of embezzlement, the prosecution will set out to establish four primary elements. These include that you were in an authoritative position that enabled you to steal and that you took the money without your employer’s knowledge. You should also have used the embezzled funds for your benefit and intended to deprive your employer of the funds or assets permanently.
The following are the defenses that a lawyer might apply to get you acquitted.
Absence of Intent to Embezzle
The presence of criminal intent is quite challenging for a prosecutor to prove in embezzlement cases. If you can show that you took money or used an asset in the belief that it rightfully belonged to you, this negates your intent to commit a crime. While this sounds like an easy defense to handle, it takes a seasoned attorney to convince the jury that your actions were honestly misinformed and not intended to defraud an employer.
Embezzlement, at times, follows threats or violence from a third party. This causes the accused to act against their better judgment. You should note that everyday pressures are not equal to duress. Threats of adversely harming you or your loved ones are the common ones used to prove duress. Threats of job loss can also constitute duress when handled by a seasoned lawyer.
Expiry of the Statute of Limitation
Most states have statutes of limitation on the timeframe within which you should file an embezzlement charge. This is meant to preserve as much evidence as possible from a case. The expiry of this period might be used as a defense to embezzlement charges. Even so, if the embezzlement was only discovered after the expiry of the statute, the prosecution retains the right to bring a case against you.
If you can prove that you were mentally incapacitated during the time in question to embezzle, you can get acquitted. Incapacity, in this instance, can include having taken heavy medication that causes you to make a mistake during fund transfers. Even so, voluntary intoxication is not a defense to embezzlement.
Embezzlement is not a charge you can wish away or try to fight alone. A conviction can result in hefty fines, imprisonment, and adversely affect your career. A good lawyer is not just crucial for handling the above defenses in a courtroom. You should get one even when talking to investigators to ensure you do not say anything that implicates you.