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Embezzlement is defined in most states as a type of theft where the stolen property or funds under the care of another person who manages or monitors it is stolen in full or in part for their own personal gain without authorization of the owner.

This definition applies in the State of Florida under Statute Ann. § 812.014 and is differentiated from theft in the fact that it is an illegal removal of funds or property that was entrusted to the person who seized it (To read about embezzlement as a federal charge, click here).

An example of this can be a family member who has access to another relative's estate or bank accounts and removes cash without consent and then sells the property or spends the money. Another example of this crime can be an officer or employee of a company who has legal access to handle the company's funds but has no legal ownership of such funds. If this member of the company finds a way to extract monies from the corporate account without permission, and uses it for their own personal benefit, this would be an act of embezzlement.

Summing it up, embezzlement is a theft which also includes an obvious violation of a position of trust. In a criminal trial the prosecution must prove that in addition to removing the entrusted property the defendant intentionally spent or used the specified item(s) without the consent of the victim at a later date subsequent to its removal.

If you or someone close to you believes an investigation has been initiated or an arrest has taken place for this type of crime, a Fort Lauderdale Embezzlement Attorney can assist with fighting all allegations brought forward by the State of Florida or the federal government.

In Florida, a conviction for embezzlement can produce a sentence as diminutive as a second degree misdemeanor to a sentence for a first degree felony which can carry a prison term of up to thirty years and a fine of up to $10,000 or both, depending on the value of the property or cash asset stolen.

The Florida state sentencing table for this crime is listed below:
A conviction for embezzlement of cash or property which has a value of $100,000 or more from an individual or company is considered a first degree felony and is punishable by the example of time to be served in prison and/or fine amount listed above. This can also apply if the stolen property is cargo taken from a shipping company's loading dock valued at $50,000 or more. A first degree felony punishment would also be imposed if the act took place during a state of emergency declared by the Governor of the State of Florida.

A sentence for a felony in the second degree can be imposed upon conviction if the assessment of the asset in question is valued at $20,000 or more but less than $100,000, or is in a situation where cargo was removed from a shipping company's loading platform valued at less than $50,000. In the case of a declared state of emergency a second degree felony punishment could be imposed if the items stolen were any articles listed further below under the penalties for a third degree felony, or any law enforcement or emergency medical equipment valued at more than $300. Parties who collude with each other to embezzle cash or property which is valued at more than $3,000 will also be charged with a felony in the second degree. A conviction for any of the abovementioned crimes carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

The penalty for a conviction for a felony in the third degree is up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. An embezzlement conviction that would meet this outcome would be embezzlement of funds or property valued at under $20,000 but more than $300. It would also be imposed for an embezzlement of any of the following items: any property valued at $100 or more, but less than $300 from a dwelling or surrounding property; a firearm of any value; a will or other testamentary instrument; a fire extinguisher; any amount of citrus fruit consisting of 2,000 or more pieces; a commercially-farmed animal; any stop sign, or any illegal drug (controlled substance) which may also result with separate criminal charges.

It should also be noted that any defendant convicted of a third or subsequent misdemeanor embezzlement crime will be charged for a third degree felony. And as mentioned above during a case of a declared state of emergency by the Governor, the penalty for all articles listed would now fall under the sentence for a second degree felony.

Misdemeanor embezzlement in the first degree can be charged when the stolen items in question have a ceiling worth of $300.00 and are valued at $100.00 at the least. This applies except when embezzled property or funds are from a dwelling or surrounding property which will remain a third degree felony. In the case of an individual who has previously been found guilty of second degree embezzlement, a new charge of the same may be changed and pursued as misdemeanor embezzlement in the first degree. Being found guilty of this charge is punishable by up to one year in jail and a possible fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Second degree misdemeanor embezzlement would fit any other type of this crime with values under $100.00. Although it is considered basically a petty crime the punishment for the offense could be a fine of up to $500, as well as up to 60 days in jail, or both.

There are many defenses for the crime of embezzlement but only an experienced criminal defense attorney can lay out the best possible options for each specific case as well as bringing to light how strong the state's case appears to be. There may be alternatives to criminal punishment as well as plea agreements that can considerably reduce punishments depending on each individual situation and the consideration of the court.  

If you or someone close to you is facing charges that may relate to embezzlement, call now for a free case evaluation. A full listing of my qualifications can be viewed by, clicking here.
Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney committed to the vigorous defense of all federal and state criminal allegations specializing in cases of embezzlement, now practicing as a criminal defense attorney since the commencement of the twenty-first century with close to forty years of combined courtroom experience for the prosecution, and now for the defense.