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Embezzlement is classified as a type of larceny in the state of New York, according to the New York Penal Code.
Embezzlement occurs when property is taken by a person entrusted to keep it on behalf of another party. Oftentimes embezzlement is undertaken by an employee or by an individual with a fiduciary duty to another person or entity.
Each year, a notable number of men and women are charged with embezzlement in Long Island, and in other jurisdictions across the state of New York. When facing embezzlement charges, a person must understand his or her basic legal rights. In addition, a person charged with embezzlement must appreciate the importance of taking a proactive stance in retaining suitable legal representation from a lawyer with a strong background in defending embezzlement cases.
Classification of Embezzlement in New York
Embezzlement cases run from a fourth-degree, class E felony to a first-degree, class B felony. Embezzlement an amount exceeding $1,000 is at the lower end of the classification spectrum. On the other hand, an amount exceeding $1,000,0000 is at the top end of the classification spectrum. The amount of money involved in the embezzlement scheme dictates the severity of the charge.
Sentences in a New York Embezzlement Case
At the low end of the classification spectrum, a person convicted of embezzlement can receive a prison sentence of up to three years. At the upper end of the spectrum, a person can face a prison sentence of to 25 years.
A person charged and convicted for the crime of embezzlement can also face a fine. The fine can be $5,000. The fine can also be two-times the amount of a defendant’s financial gain from the crime.
Defenses for an Embezzlement Charge
There are some more commonly pursued defenses to embezzlement charges in the state of New York. One defense is that the person who took control of the money or other property did so under what legally is known as claim of fight, made in good faith. What this means in layperson’s terms is that a person believed that he or she had a legal right to the property.
There can be defenses based upon violations associated with the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure. This type of defense is not as commonplace in an embezzlement case as it is in a case involving drugs. However, this does still represent a possible defense in some embezzlement cases.
Another defense available in some embezzlement cases is that the person charge is now who committed the crime. For example, in a workplace setting, one employee may have been the actual perpetrator and yet the wrong person is charged with the crime of embezzlement.
Retain a Long Island Embezzlement Lawyer
Obtaining the professional services of a Long Island embezzlement lawyer commences with arranging an initial consultation by a prospective client. During an initial consultation, a number of important things take place. First, an experienced lawyer provides an evaluation of a case. This evaluation includes a candid discussion of possible defenses to an embezzlement charge.
An initial consultation also provides a person charged with embezzlement the opportunity to raise questions about the case, the law, and court procedures. As a general rule, a Long Island Embezzlement attorney charges no fee for an initial consultation with legal counsel.
A person many times know he or she is being investigated for embezzlement before that individual actually is charged with a crime. When a person becomes aware of a pending investigation, he or she should give serious consideration to engaging legal counsel at that juncture. A person being investigated for embezzlement typically should not wait until charged with the crime of embezzlement when aware of an ongoing investigation.
In addition, when being investigated for embezzlement, a person should not submit to questioning by law enforcement. A person being investigated for embezzlement has the right to legal counsel before submitting to questioning by law enforcement. An individual in this position should be clear in advising of his or her desire to consult with legal counsel.
A seasoned Long Island embezzlement lawyer will advise whether a client should cooperate with law enforcement in an investigation. Oftentimes, legal counsel will recommend that a client not submit to questioning by law enforcement in an embezzlement case.