Michigan Embezzlement Attorney
Kronzek & Cronkright’s embezzlement attorneys have a long history of defending Michigan embezzlement cases. We have successfully defended clients in front of the jury, in our negotiations with prosecutors, during the police investigation, and when acting preemptively to keep employers from calling the police. At any point in the process, clients benefit from the experience that comes with having handled many financial crimes cases. We have handled cases where the dollar amount was in the hundreds and in the millions.
- Financial Transaction Device Crimes
- Racketeering Crimes
- Theft Crimes
- Armed Robbery
Michigan Embezzlement Lawyers
Embezzlement is a crime where an employee steals lawfully-accessed property from his or her employer. The offense may involve money, goods, or property. Typically, an employee is accused of intentionally taking advantage of his or her position of trust to convert the property for personal gain, or for the benefit of others. This differs from larceny, because the employee is in lawful possession of the property, whereas someone who commits a larceny is not. Therefore, at the core of the crime of embezzlement is the conversion for personal gain.
To prove embezzlement at trial, the following must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
- the money in question must belong to the employer or principal; and
- the defendant must have a trusted relationship as an employee or agent; and
- the defendant must have gained possession of the property because of the relationship of trust; and
- the defendant disposed of or converted the property for his or her own use; and
- the conversion must be without the employer’s consent; and
- when the conversion occurred, the defendant intended to defraud the employer
The amount of money embezzled or the fair market value of the property is always an issue in an embezzlement case. This is because the severity of the crime and the potential sentence increases as the dollar amount increases.
|If the value of property embezzled is…||Then the penalty is…|
|Less than $200 (misdemeanor)||Up to 93 days in jail, a fine up to $500.00, or 3 times the value, whichever is greater, or both.|
|$200.00 through $1,000.00 OR Less than $200.00 + 1 or more prior convictions OR Less than $200.00 + the victim is a nonprofit (misdemeanor)||Up to 1 year imprisonment, a fine up to $2,000.00, or 3 times the value, whichever is greater, or both.|
|$1,000.00 through $20,000.00 OR $200.00 through $1,000.00 + 1 or more prior convictions OR victim is a nonprofit + 1 or more prior convictions OR $200.00 through $1,000.00 + victim is a nonprofit (felony)||Up to 5 years in prison, a fine up to $10,000.00, or 3 times the value, whichever is greater, or both.|
|$20,000.00 through $50,000.00 OR $1,000.00 through $20,000.00 + 2 or more prior convictions OR victim is nonprofit + 2 or more prior convictions OR $1,000.00 through $20,000.00 + victim is a nonprofit (felony)||Up to 10 years in prison, a fine up to $15,000.00, or 3 times the value, whichever is greater, or both.|
|$50,000.00 through $100,000.00 (felony)||Up to 15 years in prison, a fine up to $25,000.00, 3 times the value, whichever is greater, or both.|
|$100,000+ (felony)||Up to 20 years, a fine up to $50,000.00, or 3 times the value, whichever is greater, or both.|
Calculating the Dollar Amount- Michigan Embezzlement
For determining the amount embezzled, the value can be added up covering a 12-month period. Typically, embezzlement involves a common scheme where property is taken over an extended period of time. However, if the scheme is directed at only one person, state governmental entity, or some other legal entity, then no time limit applies in these cases. There are also instances of continuing criminal enterprises involving embezzlement. Additionally, if an individual is convicted of embezzlement, he or she could be ordered to pay an amount of restitution to the victim to cover the losses.
Successful Michigan Embezzlement Defense Firm
Besides embezzlement by agent, there are several other types, including embezzlement from a vulnerable adult; embezzlement by bank employees; embezzlement by public officials; embezzlement of mortgaged property; and embezzlement by warehouses, safe keeping of public moneys, and more. These have varying ranges of penalties depending on the value of the embezzled property and other factors. Our attorneys have helped many clients stay out of jail, stay out of prison and avoid felony convictions.
Michigan Embezzlement Investigations
Once a company discovers through its CPA or auditors that there appears to be bookkeeping irregularities, a decision is usually made to conduct an in-house investigation. The company might notice errors in bank account records or even missing or altered financial records. The investigation will likely begin with those employees who have regular access to those records. Typically, there is a single transaction that comes to the attention of an owner or manager that triggers a more extensive examination.
An individual who has his or her hand caught in the till may be tempted to simply come clean with an employer. Regardless of the type of activity–whether altering checks, ordering goods with company funds and having the items shipped elsewhere, or any type of misappropriation of resources–confessing is not advisable. In the course of such an investigation, not only is an employer looking for grounds for termination, but also potentially for evidence of guilt to press criminal charges or to seek recovery through a civil suit. Contact Us if you are the target of such an investigation. We can help a client every step of the way—even before a criminal investigation begins or arrest occurs.
If a boss asks to search an employee’s belongings, locker, or vehicle, that employee may not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, sometimes companies will have a policy that permits employers to search employee’s belongings under certain circumstances. Employees then have been given notice that such searches may occur and have no reasonable expectation of privacy. Again, having legal representation would be advantageous to the accused. This is because any evidence found from the search could be used against the accused either as part of disciplinary action from the employer or can be handed over to the police and prosecutor to aid a criminal investigation and prosecution.
Additionally, an employer might hire an independent security company to do an undercover investigation if the company does not yet have enough evidence to prove employee wrongdoing. Another option is that if the company has their own in-house counsel, this attorney might conduct the investigation. Sometimes companies also hire outside criminal defense counsel to do the investigation due to their experience with criminal matters. Either way, these attorneys do not represent the employees and should not be depended upon for legal advice. These attorneys represent only the employer and the company’s interests.
If an employer requests that the accused submit to a polygraph examination, the employee has the right to decline. The Michigan Polygraph Protection Act of 1981 states an employee can voluntarily ask to be examined, but he or she cannot be required or asked to submit to a polygraph.
Other Consequences of an Embezzlement Accusation:
Some other ways embezzlement can affect the employee’s life include:
- If terminated for “gross misconduct” i.e. employee fraud or theft, this is not a qualifying event for COBRA insurance.
- If an employee was discharged for theft related to that employee’s job, he or she may be disqualified from unemployment benefits.
- A court can declare that the company is the owner of property clearly bought with stolen funds. This is called a constructive trust. So it is possible for a company to recover cash, houses, cars, or other valuable personal property.
- A criminal or civil judgment against an individual for embezzlement or fraud is generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy. This includes court-ordered restitution.
- An accomplice or fence who knowingly disposes of or conceals stolen money or property may face “treble damages” or three times the damages the court would normally impose plus attorney fees.
Expert Michigan Embezzlement Lawyers
Aggressive legal representation is critical in embezzlement cases. Even a conviction for a misdemeanor embezzlement charge can result in jail time, probation, and loss of future employment opportunities. Our attorneys have decades of experience that can make all the difference in cases involving financial crimes. Our seasoned lawyers work hard to avoid jail and prison for our clients. We work to preserve a client’s reputation and keep future employment opportunities open. Call Kronzek & Cronkright, PLLC for a free consultation at (866) 766-5245. Our attorneys are available for consultation 24/7 for emergency situations, and have both daytime and evening appointments as needed.
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