White collar crimes, a real problem in Florida and across the United States, are often overlooked as being actual crimes. In fact, Florida leads the nation in the amount of white collar crimes such as fraud and identity theft.1 More often, individuals associate crimes with those violent acts that are covered in popular television crime dramas. Still, white-collar crimes such as embezzlement, conspiracy, and others are criminal offenses that can result in serious fines and potential jail time.
Embezzlement is a crime in Florida.2 It is, however, not recognized by a separate statute. Instead, embezzlement is considered a property crime and is prosecuted as such. In Florida, embezzlement occurs when an individual unlawfully appropriates currency or assets by some legal means. This usually occurs because the individual who is embezzling has access to money, funds, or valuable assets. Some examples of embezzlement include:
- A trustee misappropriating trust funds for his or her own benefit;
- A bank employee diverting funds to individual bank accounts; and
- A company employee with access to the company’s finances skims money off the top over a period of time.
Charges of embezzlement are very serious and can have a lasting impact if they result in a conviction. Embezzlement can be either a felony or misdemeanor. Because charges of embezzlement deal with financial amounts, the degree of the crime will depend on the amount of money that is embezzled. The higher degrees will carry heavier fines and potential jail time. A basic breakdown of felony embezzlement includes:
- First-degree felony: If the property is worth $100,000 or more. Violators face up to $10,000 in fines, 30 years in prison, or both.
- Second-degree felony: more than $20,000 or more but less than $100,000; face fine of as much as $10,000, and 15 years in prison, or both.
- Third-degree felony: More than $300 but less than $20,000. Punishment is a fine of up to $5000, or five years in prison or both.
CONTACT A ST. PETERSBURG WHITE COLLAR CRIME ATTORNEY TODAY
If you are charged with embezzlement, you should retain an experienced white collar crime attorney to help evaluate your case. The experienced attorneys of the Khonsari Law Group will evaluate the facts of your case and work with you to develop an effective criminal defense strategy. Call the Khonsari Law Group today at (727) 269-5300 and schedule your free consultation.