A 45-year-old Ladera Ranch woman has been charged with 3 felony charges after having been arrested on suspicion that she stole more than $100,000.00 from her employer. The Orange County, California woman was charged with Grand theft by employee, Acts constituting forgery and unauthorized use of personal identifying information. These types of charges together are also known as Felony Embezzlement.
Embezzlement is commonly referred to as employee theft and employee fraud. Embezzlement is defined as unlawfully taking something from another that has been entrusted to you and is most often seen in connection with employment situations.
In order for the prosecution to prove embezzlement, three facts or elements of the crime, must be proved. They are: (1) that you had a relationship of trust with the victim, (2) that, pursuant to that relationship, you were entrusted with certain property, and (3) that you specifically intended to deprive the victim of that property by fraudulently taking it as your own.
Embezzlement is typically punished as either Penal Code 487 grand theft or as Penal Code 488 petty theft, depending upon the value of the property. California Penal Code 487 PC, grand theft is a “wobbler”, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s criminal history.
If convicted of grand theft embezzlement as a misdemeanor, the sentence is up to one year in a county jail and a maximum $1,000.00 fine. If convicted as a felony, the sentence can be up to 16 months, or two or three years in the California State Prison, and a $10,000.00 maximum fine.
A conviction of petty theft embezzlement can be up to six months in a county jail and a maximum $1,000.00 fine. However, if the property is valued at $50.00 or less, and no other theft related convictions, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to get your charges reduced to an infraction.
Some more common defenses to these charges are: (1) claim of right/good faith belief, (2) lack of criminal intent, and (3) false accusations/innocence.
In this situation, this woman will need the assistance of a good Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney who will investigate the allegations, critically evaluate all of the evidence, and highlight inconsistencies and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
Anyone being accused of embezzlement in Orange County, California, should seek the advise of an attorney who is familiar with all the Courts in Orange County. An attorney who has a good working relationship with the individual Judges, District Attorneys, Court Clerks and Probation Department, as well as the Court staff, will be better able to get your charges reduced and/or dismissed. An attorney familiar with the Courts in which a case is pending will result in the best possible outcome available.