Embezzlement is more common than many people think. It is not always high-profile, and it can occur in a wide range of environments. If someone accuses you of embezzlement, you must not laugh it off as a preposterous idea. You should take the accusation seriously, even if you do not believe that you were guilty of committing such an act.
To better understand how you can successfully defend yourself against an embezzlement charge, it is a good idea that you take the time to understand the elements of the law in full.
How is embezzlement defined under Missouri law?
Embezzlement is an act of theft that involves the misuse of power and breach of trust to acquire another's assets. It is a crime that often occurs in business environments. Many states have specific laws to address the crime of embezzlement. However, Missouri statutes do not individually address the crime of embezzlement. The act is usually treated as any other form of theft.
What are the consequences of a guilty embezzlement charge in Missouri?
In Missouri, theft crimes tend to be assigned a penalty in accordance with the value of assets stolen. If the value of the funds stolen is less than $500, a guilty person will be charged with a misdemeanor, up to 1 year in jail and possibly a fine up to $1,000.
If the amount stolen is between $500 and less than $25,000, the crime is punishable by up to seven years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. If more than $25,000 is stolen, it can lead to up to 15 years in prison.
How can I defend myself against an embezzlement charge?
Like with all theft accusations, you have several options when it comes to defending yourself. You may be able to argue that the transfer of funds was a genuine mistake and that you did not have the intent to steal. You may also be able to argue that the accusation itself was completely false and that funds were never transferred.
You must take action to defend yourself if you have been accused of embezzlement in Missouri. By not wasting time you will have the best possible chance of successfully defending yourself.