Welcome back, and thanks for joining us here at The Kronzek Firm for a discussion about fraud crimes in Michigan. In our introductory article we broke down credit card fraud for our readers. We discussed what it involved, what a prosecutor would have to prove in order to secure a criminal conviction, and what the penalties are under Michigan law. Moving on, we’ll be talking about embezzlement, and what that charge and conviction looks like for residents of Michigan.
What is embezzlement?
Embezzlement happens when an employee steals funds from their employer, or from the organization where they work. This crime has very specific parameters. In order for a financial theft to count as embezzlement, the accused has to be employed at the place they took the money from, and they had to have had legal access to the funds.
For example, a Detroit accountant who “siphons a little off the top” is a classic example of embezzlement. Another example would be a secretary in Lansing who removes petty cash for personal purchases, like manicures and clothing. The money was taken from their place of employment, and it was money they had legal access to, but weren’t allowed to take or use personally. A slightly different examples involves the volunteer treasurer of the Girl Scout troop that steals money from the organization because they had legal access to those funds.
How is embezzlement discovered?
Embezzlement is usually discovered due to an irregularity in the bookkeeping or accounting of a business or organization. It may be missing money, or funds redirected to unauthorized accounts. Sometimes it will be unauthorized purchases made with company funds, or even transactions that don’t make sense. Whatever it is that trips the alarm, so to speak, once an investigation is started, it isn’t unusual for numerous irregularities to be revealed.
What are the penalties for embezzlement?
When it comes to embezzlement, the amount stolen has a direct impact on the penalty. The larger the sum, the greater the penalty. Keep in mind that having prior convictions will also increase the penalties for fraud crimes. In Michigan, it looks like this:
- Less than $200 is a misdemeanor. The penalty is 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 is a misdemeanor. The penalty is 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 is a felony. The penalty is 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 is a felony. The penalty is 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 is a felony. The penalty is up to 15 years in prison, a fine up to $25,000.00, 3 times the value, whichever is greater, or both.
- $100,000 and anything larger is a felony. The penalty is up to 20 years, a fine up to $50,000.00, or 3 times the value, whichever is greater, or both.
What do I do if I’m being investigated or charged with embezzlement?
Just like with credit card fraud, the answer here is simple – call us immediately! Don’t say anything to anyone. Don’t make any confessions. Don’t allow the police or your employer to convince you that there won’t be any repercussion if you are honest with them about what happened. Shut up and pick up your phone and call us so that you can talk to an experienced fraud crimes defense attorney in Michigan right now!
Join us next time for the next installment, when we will be talking about tax evasion. Until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of embezzlement or any other financial crimes or fraud crimes in Michigan, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys have spent decades successfully defending the people of Michigan against all types of criminal charges, and we can help you too!