How embezzlement charges can turn into a federal crime

How embezzlement charges can turn into a federal crime

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Embezzlement, a form of financial misconduct, leads to serious legal consequences.

In certain situations, embezzlement charges can elevate from state-level offenses to federal crimes. If that happens to you, you face a much more complex legal process.

Understanding embezzlement

Embezzlement can take various forms. One common type is employee embezzlement in which workers divert company funds for personal use. Another variant is public embezzlement, wherein public officials mishandle public funds or resources for personal gain. Additionally, there is corporate embezzlement, which involves high-ranking individuals manipulating company finances to their advantage.

Crossing state lines

While most embezzlement cases get prosecuted at the state level, they can turn federal when meeting certain criteria. In 2021, embezzlement accounted for 8% of federal criminal cases. Any embezzled funds, assets or property considered part of an interstate commerce transaction may make the case fall under federal jurisdiction. If the criminal activity occurred across state lines, involved federal agencies or impacted federal programs, federal charges may apply.

Challenging the allegations

While federal embezzlement charges come with stress and confusion, you have different defenses to explore. One common approach is questioning the intent behind the actions. If you lacked the intention to permanently deprive the rightful owner of the misappropriated funds, it may provide a viable defense. Additionally, demonstrating that you had the right to use the funds or establishing a misunderstanding regarding the use of the funds can help counter the charges.

While navigating the legal process demands careful attention to detail, you do not have to go it alone.