Beverly Hills Embezzlement
In Beverly Hills, embezzlement charges are some of the most common white collar crimes filed by prosecutors. The crime of embezzlement is addressed by California Penal Code Section 503 PC and falls under the general category of Beverly Hills theft crimes. Embezzlement is often charged in conjunction with petty theft pursuant to California Penal Code Section 484 PC or grand theft under California Penal Code Section 487 PC, depending on the value of the theft alleged.
Commonly referred to as “employee theft” due to the typical way in which it is committed, embezzlement involves the unlawful misappropriation of property or funds that have been entrusted to a person in a position of trust. This often involves employees misusing a corporate credit card, stealing cash from the company or making personal withdrawals from company accounts. Embezzlement is a criminal offense that is often committed by accountants, bookkeepers, bank employees or others in positions of trust who have ready access to cash and/or financial accounts.
The crime of embezzlement under California Penal Code Section 503 PC, requires that the following elements be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The owner of property entrusted the defendant with his or her property
- The owner did this because he or she trusted the defendant
- Once the defendant received the property, he or she fraudulently misappropriated the property or used it in a manner that diminished its value
- AND when the defendant did this he or she intended to deprive the owner of the property.
Simply being accused of or charged with embezzlement can be calamitous to someone’s personal and professional livelihood. Ultimately being convicted of this crime can expose the defendant to extensive penalties, including prison time, and can serve as a black mark on one’s record that would be toxic to future employers. In addition, many professional licenses would be jeopardized upon conviction for embezzlement.
When an embezzlement offense is committed by an employee or government official at the city, state, county or municipal level, charges under California Penal Code Section 504 PC could be filed. Prosecutors and judges tend to seek more severe penalties for embezzlement crimes that are carried out by those in positions of power who abuse the public trust.
An embezzlement offense in Beverly Hills can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the underlying value of the theft. A Deputy District Attorney from the Airport Branch of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office would handle prosecution for both felonies and misdemeanors. When the amount of theft is greater than $950, the defendant could be charged with grand theft per California Penal Code Section 487 PC. If the underlying loss totals $950 or less, the defendant could be charged with petty theft under California Penal Code Section 484 PC.
Grand theft offenses are “wobblers” that may be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors. Factors that would be considered when deciding what level of charges to file include the criminal history of the defendant, the amount of money or property embezzled and other unique factual circumstances that may be relevant. Those convicted of a felony level grand theft offense can be sentenced to up to three years in prison. Those convicted of grand theft as a misdemeanor face up to a year in jail. In either case, the defendant would be expected to pay restitution to the victim for the amount stolen.
Petty theft is a misdemeanor level offense that would be prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office – Airport Branch. Those convicted of misdemeanor petty theft may be sent to jail for up to a year and may be required to fulfill any other obligations the court may impose, including theft counseling classes. In addition, the defendant would have to pay restitution to the victim.
If you have been charged with an embezzlement offense in the Beverly Hills area, it is very important that you meet with a Beverly Hills Criminal Defense Lawyer right away. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Beverly Hills Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is highly adept at handling embezzlement cases. Mr. Kraut previously prosecuted these offenses as part of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office elite Major Fraud Division and is thus uniquely positioned to defend those charged with embezzlement crimes.
For more information about Beverly Hills embezzlement offenses, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Beverly Hills Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 8484 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 660B, Beverly Hills, CA 90211-3220. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 310-550-6935.