Raleigh Criminal Lawyer Says Tough Economy Causes Rise in Embezzlement Crimes

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A tough economy - high debt, unemployment, and cash flow problems at small and medium size businesses - has resulted in a a significant rise in embezzlement cases. Embezzlement is the crime of stealing money or valuables you've been entrusted with. When people feel the pressure of paying bills in a down economy, they can sometimes resort to biting the hand that feeds them: an employer, or organization they work for. Or when businesses are under pressure to make the books balance, they may blame innocent employees for the losses. In either case, it is usually important to consult with a criminal lawyer if you've been accused of embezzlement.

In tough economic times, embezzlement becomes and even more common crime. North Carolina embezzlement law defines the crime as the taking of money or things of value that have been entrusted to an employee, clerk, officer, or other agent by the alleged victim.

A Raleigh embezzlement case typically involves an employee – someone with access to a company credit card or company bank accounts – who has taken money from the accounts or charged personal items to the credit card. Since embezzlement is considered a violation of trust, it is categorized as a felony, regardless of the amount in question. Theoretically if you are accused of embezzlement Raleigh of just $100, you’d face a felony.

There are two levels of embezzlement North Carolina. The first level is any amount up to $100,000 and is a Class H felony. The second level is any amount of $100,000 or more and is a Class C felony.

The importance of the value may be crucial to your case. That’s because a Class C felony is a much more serious crime, resulting in mandatory prison time of 5 years or more.

A Class H felony, for a first time offender, may result in probation, and no prison time at all.

One of the problems with embezzlement is the dispute over the amount of money taken. Where the person has admitted to taking some money, the question will be how much did they take. That’s important for two reasons.

First, if the amount equals or exceeds $100,000, the crime is much more serious.

Second, if the person is placed on probation, and ordered to pay restitution, the question is how much restitution must the person pay back. A failure to pay back the restitution could result in a violation of probation, and an active sentence. So it’s important that someone accused of embezzlement Raleigh not be required to pay back more than is truly owed.

In tough economic times, sometimes victims – companies, employers etc., – may use the fact that you’ve been accused of embezzlement to saddle you with ALL losses from the business, even losses that you are not responsible for. This is called “cleaning the books.” And it’s a strategy they might use to try to get back more than is truly owed.

If an employer approaches you about claims of embezzlement, you should certainly contact a Raleigh embezzlement lawyer or embezzlement lawyer Raleigh as soon as possible. This is because anything you may say to the employer could be later used against you.

And, because, if we act quickly enough, there may be ways to avoid a criminal charge entirely.

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