St. Louis Embezzlement Lawyer
When could I be charged with embezzlement?
Throughout the United States, embezzlement is referred to as a white collar crime—since those who are most commonly charged with this crime have access to a substantial amount of financial resources. As such, embezzlement is defined as the act of dishonestly withholding assets from one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted. What makes this crime particularly complex, however, is that the offender usually maintains lawful possession of these assets. For example, a financial advisor could be accused of embezzlement if they have knowingly withheld funds from their investors. Although they may be responsible for managing the funds, it would be illegal to deprive an investor of their designated share. The laws that regulate these activities will vary from state to state, but five basic elements must exist in order for one to be charged with this crime, including:
#1: Fraud: One could only be charged with embezzlement if it can be proven that the theft was committed
fraudulently—which means that it was not the byproduct of an honest misunderstanding.
#2: Conversion: One could only be charged with embezzlement if it can be proven that the offender willfully violated the owner's rights and converted the property for their own personal use.
#3: Assets / Property: One could only be charged with embezzlement if it can be proven that the "victim" was deprived of their assets-which may include both tangible and intangible property.
#4: Another Person: One could only be charged with embezzlement if it can be proven that another person was affected by the crime, since one cannot technically embezzle their own property.
#5: Lawful Possession: One could only be charged with embezzlement if it can be proven that the offender was in lawful possession of the property at the time of the fraudulent conversion.
The Penalties for Embezzlement in Missouri
According to Missouri Code §570.030, the penalties associated with an embezzlement conviction will be dependent on the value of the assets that were willfully stolen. In most cases, however, one could expect to spend time behind bars-even if they have been charged with the mildest form of this offense. For this reason, the legal team at the Sumner Law Group, LLC encourages you to seek the assistance of our dedicated St. Louis criminal defense attorney as soon as you have been accused of a crime. In doing so, you will allow yourself an adequate amount of time to develop an effective defense against the following legal penalties:
- $500 or Less: Up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine
- $500 - $25,000: Up to seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine
- $25,000 or More: Up to fifteen years in prison and a fine not exceeding $20,000
Avoiding a Criminal Conviction in St. Louis, MO
If you or someone you love has been accused of embezzlement in Missouri, you should not hesitate to take action in the interest of your defense. Should you be convicted, it is unlikely that you would be able to avoid time in jail or even prison. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you get started on developing an effective legal strategy as soon as possible. Fortunately, taking the first step is easy - all you have to do is pick up the phone and contact the St. Louis criminal defense attorney at the Sumner Law Group, LLC today. After that, you can rest easier knowing that your case is in competent hands. Call now at (314) 485-9948 or fill out a free case evaluation form online.