Misappropriating or misusing funds or goods that have been placed in your trust (either in a professional or personal capacity) is a criminal offense in the state of California under Penal Code Section 503. No matter how large or how little the value of the funds or goods may be, it is unlawful to misuse them or to funnel them into personal accounts for personal use. Anyone facing an embezzlement charge has the right to retain a defense attorney in the courtroom. If you have been charged with embezzlement in the Los Angeles area, contact an embezzlement defense lawyer to discuss your case and learn more about what options you have under the law.
The California Penal Code describes the crime of embezzlement in Sections 503 through 515. Embezzlement is considered a crime against property, and it can manifest in a variety of ways. For example, a bank teller taking cash from their bank’s cash drawer in order to buy lunch at the deli could be charged with embezzlement, as could a person who has been entrusted with an ailing relative’s finances who then funnels the money they were entrusted with into their personal bank account. Even something such as leasing a moving truck and disposing of the vehicle away rather than returning it could be charged as embezzlement under California state law.
The crime of embezzlement is prosecuted as theft in our state. Whether the case is treated as a misdemeanor or a felony offense hinges on the amount of funds(or, in the cases of goods, the monetary value of those goods) involved in the alleged crime and whether or not the accused has faced the same or similar charges in the past. For example, embezzlement involving funds or goods valued at less than 950 dollars will be prosecuted as a misdemeanor under the laws governing petit theft for a first-time offense. On the other hand, transactions involving funds or goods valued at more than 950 dollars will be prosecuted as grand theft. Grand theft is a “wobbler” offense, which means it could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the unique circumstances surrounding the alleged crime.
If you have been accused of embezzlement, you have the right to a legal defense in court. An experienced attorney can help you fight these charges, and can help negotiate a desirable resolution to your case. Contact an embezzlement defense lawyer in Marina Del Rey at Okabe and Haushalter to find out more about your options as a defendant. Our attorneys have a reputation for providing clients with courtroom excellence and are renowned for their aggressive defense tactics that generate results. Call or click today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you when your court date arrives.