In Florida, individuals convicted of embezzlement pay penalties according to the state’s theft laws. This means that your punishment is commensurate to the value of the property taken. If convicted of embezzlement, you can face steep fines and jail time, irrevocably changing the trajectory of your life. We often represent clients and mount a defense to protect their reputation and freedom.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, embezzlement is the misappropriation of property, money or another article of value entrusted to his or her custody, care or control. If you face embezzlement charges, there are three elements the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
The owner trusted you with their property
There is a significant characteristic that differentiates theft from embezzlement. A victim of theft unwillingly or unknowingly gives property to the perpetrator. In embezzlement cases, the victim willingly gives the property to the perpetrator. For the prosecutor to prove the case, he or she must establish that the victim owned the property and willfully transferred it to you.
You acted with criminal intent
Intent is a required component of embezzlement. The prosecutor must prove that you wanted to take the victim’s property as your own. This is an essential factor that helps protect alleged perpetrators from a conviction as a result of unintentional actions.
You used the property for your own benefit
A required element of proving fraud is that you used the property for your own benefit, even if it was for a brief time. It must also be to the detriment of the victim. Experienced litigators often conduct independent investigations and engage third-party experts to provide clients with a staunch defense.