Embezzlement under California Penal Code Section 503 PC is one of the most common white collar crimes charged in the Pasadena area. Embezzlement in Pasadena is considered a theft offense that can be charged in addition to petty theft per California Penal Code Section 484 PC or grand theft in violation of California Penal Code Section 487 PC, depending on the amount of the loss.
Embezzlement is commonly referred to as employee theft because it is often committed by employees who have access to accounts, company credit cards and/or cash as part of their job. Embezzlement is the act of misappropriating money or property by a person in a position of trust. This is a crime often committed by bookkeepers, accountants, bank employees and other similarly positioned employees.
The crime of embezzlement under California Penal Code Section 503 PC contains the following elements, which must be established in order to convict a defendant:
- An owner entrusted property to the defendant
- The owner did so because he or she trusted the defendant
- The defendant fraudulently converted or used that property for his or her own benefit
- AND the defendant did this with the intention of depriving the owner of the property's use
Merely being charged with a Pasadena embezzlement offense can be devastating to a defendant’s personal and professional life. The stigma that these types of charges and convictions carry can prevent a person from being considered for future employment opportunities. Embezzlement is considered a crime of dishonesty that can have far-reaching collateral consequences for anyone convicted. A conviction for embezzlement can jeopardize professional licenses and can be devastating to one’s career.
When a state, county, city or municipal employee commits embezzlement, this offense is a felony under California Penal Code Section 504 PC. The legislature has made it clear that theft crimes committed by those in positions of public trust are especially egregious.
The crime of embezzlement in Pasadena can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending of the amount of loss involved in the particular theft. If the amount of loss exceeds $950, the defendant could be charged with grand theft in violation of California Penal Code Section 487 PC. If the amount embezzled was $950 or less, the defendant could be charged with petty theft in violation of California Penal Code Section 484 PC.
Grand theft is what is considered a “wobbler” offense that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the factual circumstances involved and the defendant’s criminal history. If grand theft is charged as a felony, the prosecution would be handled by a Deputy District Attorney from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office – Pasadena Branch Office. If charged as a misdemeanor, the prosecution would be handled by either the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office or the Pasadena City Attorney, depending on whether the offense occurred within the city of Pasadena. The maximum sentence for a felony would be three years in prison, while the maximum misdemeanor penalty is up to one year in county jail in addition to whatever conditions of probation a judge may impose. In either case, the defendant would have to pay restitution to the victim in addition to costly court fines.
If charged as petty theft, the prosecution would be handled by either the Pasadena City Attorney or the Pasadena Branch Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, depending on where in the Pasadena region the offense occurred. If convicted, the defendant can be sentenced to up to a year in jail, community labor, court fines, restitution and any other conditions of probation that may be imposed.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for or charged with embezzlement in Pasadena, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced Pasadena Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. Pasadena Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience. Mr. Kraut previously prosecuted embezzlement and other white collar crimes as part of the elite Major Fraud Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. In addition, Mr. Kraut served as a Senior Trial Prosecutor at the Pasadena Courthouse and is highly respected there by law enforcement, judges and prosecutors.
For more information about Pasadena embezzlement offenses, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Pasadena Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 790 East Colorado Boulevard, 9th Floor, Pasadena, CA 91101. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 626-345-1899.