Embezzlement is a crime that involves both theft and fraud. Someone who embezzles does not simply steal money from someone else. When Person A trusts Person B to handle their finances, and Person B steals that money, Person B has committed the crime of embezzlement.
Penalties for Embezzlement Charges in South Carolina
The state has different punishments for embezzlement depending on the amount of money stolen and the money’s source.
The first concern is whether the money came from a private or public source.
Embezzling from a Private Source
If someone allegedly embezzles $100,000 or more, this is a Class C felony. A conviction can lead to prison from 58 months (almost five years) to 73 months (a little over six years).
Any accusation of embezzling less than $100,000 will be a misdemeanor charge. Penalties and charges will depend on how much was stolen. For lesser amounts of money, the charge will be lighter, and the crime becomes more severe as the amount of money increases.
Embezzling from a Public Source
The state is quite harsh on those accused of stealing from public funds. A conviction can result in up to 10 years in prison.
As you can see, embezzlement is a serious crime, especially when it involves vast sums of money. If you’ve been accused of embezzling, you need to contact an attorney right away. You are at serious risk of losing your freedom, and you must exercise your right to a criminal defense.
Here are some effective defense strategies against embezzlement that you can discuss with your lawyer.
Questioning the Evidence
By its very nature, embezzlement is a complicated crime. Clever thieves can make it difficult to trace stolen assets, and they can even make money trails disappear. An adept criminal can even make it appear as if they don’t have any extra money beyond their salary.
This difficulty can work in your favor. It may be possible to help expose a mistake in the prosecution’s case against you. Something that appears illegal may be perfectly acceptable behavior when you closely scrutinize the complicated charges.
Claiming a Lack of Intent
Once again, the complexities of an embezzlement charge can be an advantage in your case. It’s possible that you did break the law, and you were completely unaware that you did so.
Intent is an important piece of any good criminal case. Prosecutors should not be working hard to prove that you broke the law on a technicality. They must also prove that you knew what you were doing, and you did it on purpose. If you never intended to steal anyone’s money, you can use this argument to help you in court.
Proving that You Were Coerced
Wherever you find large sums of money, you can easily find dangerous people as well. If someone forces you to commit a crime for them through threats or force, you can use this fact to fight for your innocence.
Duress doesn’t always come through intimidation. The law recognizes that power dynamics exist between a boss and their employees. If your employer asked you to commit fraud, you can claim that you were operating under duress.
Challenging the Authorities
Sometimes, it’s necessary to point the finger back at your accusers. Police must use very specific methods in an investigation. If they go outside the parameters of what is allowed, even a little, the entire case can be thrown out.
Make sure your attorney takes a close look at each detail of your arrest. They may find evidence of the police making mistakes or abusing their power, and these actions may be grounds to have your charges removed.
Our firm is ready to help defend you against embezzlement charges. For a consultation , call us right away at (803) 938-4952. You can also schedule time with us online.