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What are possible defenses against embezzlement?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Embezzlement is a form of financial fraud that involves a person wrongfully appropriating funds or property entrusted to their care but owned by someone else. Typically, this crime is associated with employees or fiduciaries who, due to their position, have access to someone else’s money or property and use it for their personal gain.

The distinguishing factor of embezzlement from other types of theft is a breach of trust. The person legally has access to the money or property but uses it in ways not authorized by the owner. This breach of trust is what makes embezzlement a particularly serious offense.

Common defenses to embezzlement charges

Facing embezzlement charges can have significant legal and personal consequences, making it crucial for those accused to understand their defense options. The defenses against embezzlement charges often hinge on the intent and the circumstances surrounding the alleged misappropriation of funds or property.

Lack of intent to commit a crime is also possible. This argument posits that the defendant didn’t intend to steal or permanently deprive the owner of their property. It might have been a misunderstanding or mismanagement of funds rather than a deliberate act of theft.

Demonstrating that any appropriation of funds was done with the belief of having rightful ownership is another defense strategy. This sometimes hinges on the assertion of being allowed to use the funds or property in any manner desired.

Another defense revolves around consent. This occurs when the defendant argues that they had permission from the owner to use the money or property in the manner they did.

Entrapment is another defense, although less commonly employed. In this case, the defendant argues that they were induced by someone else to commit the crime, which they wouldn’t have otherwise committed.

Ultimately, a person who is facing embezzlement charges should review the evidence against them with the assistance of a skilled legal team and determine the appropriate defense strategy. Because these cases are often complex and may result in career-ending consequences, it behooves defendants to have legal representation to assist them as they build the strongest possible response to the charges at hand.