Accusations of embezzlement and employee theft must be taken very seriously from the earliest stages of investigation. From executives to hourly workers, The Law Offices of Ryan E. Blake in Fort Wayne, Indiana defends employees throughout Indiana who find themselves accused of stealing from their employers. With extensive experience in federal and state courts, attorney Lackey is well equipped to handle these charges and build strong defenses.
These two crimes are closely related, but there are a few subtle differences under Indiana state and federal law. The easiest way to understand the distinction is to think of employee theft as a broader crime. It refers to any form of theft committed by an employee against an employer, whether it’s money, physical property, intellectual property or trade secrets.
Embezzlement is a particular type of employee theft. In most states, a charge of embezzlement can only be leveled against a person who has control of, or is entrusted with, the finances of the company in some way. Typically, embezzlement involves misappropriating company funds for personal use, often covering it up by “cooking the books” to prevent the theft from being discovered. However, in Indiana, acts that are considered embezzlement are charged as theft. That means the charge will be theft whether the offender took money from a cash register, manipulated the books or employed credit card fraud to siphon funds to his or her own account.
The amounts of money stolen through embezzlement tend to be very large because the employee involved has access to the company’s finances. In fact, embezzlement costs U.S. companies billions of dollars a year and is the most frequently prosecuted form of employee theft.
Aside from embezzlement, other examples of employee theft include:
Interpreted very rigidly, employee theft could even include taking home a company pen or using company time to send personal emails. Actions like this are rarely prosecuted because they are so minor, but they help fully explain what employee theft means.
The potential penalties for embezzlement convictions in Indiana vary according to the value of the property that has been stolen. A Level 6 felony, which involves less than $100,000, carries six to 18 months in prison, and a Level 5 felony, which involves more than $100,000, carries two to eight years in prison. Both require restitution; i.e., paying back the full value of the property taken.
These are tough penalties, and added to them will be the professional and social challenges that come with a felony conviction, such as difficulty getting a job. A criminal defense lawyer can seek the best possible outcome for you after fully investigating the case. Our firm has extensive trial experience, and you can rely on us to build the strongest defense available given your particular circumstances.
If you are under investigation or have been charged with embezzlement or employee theft in Indiana, contact an attorney at The Law Offices of Ryan E. Lackey in Fort Wayne right away. Call 260-222-7364 or contact us online to arrange your free consultation.