You have always been a trusted employee of the business where you work. When a new co-worker joined the staff, there was a bit of tension between the two of you but you brushed it off as just a personality clash.
Lately, you thought you noticed that your boss was giving you some curious side-eye glances, and you definitely noticed some coolness in their tone. Suddenly, you were fired after being accused of embezzling funds.
Could you have been set up?
It is entirely possible that the new employee who acted so prickly around you could have set you up to take their fall for embezzling funds from your employer. Their purpose may have been two-fold: Feather their own nest while getting you fired from the business.
What should you do now?
You have two areas to worry about right now. Finding another job and defending yourself on embezzlement charges (should they arise). Of the two, the latter is far more serious and where you most need to direct your attention.
An arrest often accompanies termination for embezzlement. But if you were not immediately arrested at the job site, never assume that you are in the clear. The police may still be investigating the alleged crime and your arrest could be imminent.
What defines embezzlement?
From a legal standpoint, embezzlement is fraud arising from knowingly misrepresenting the truth or concealing a material fact to cause someone else to act to their detriment. One example could be manipulating the company’s accounting records in order to disguise the theft of company funds.
To bring criminal charges against you for embezzlement, four factors must be present and provable:
- There was a fiduciary relationship in place between the two parties. One party was trusted to maintain an asset and the other party relied on them to do so honestly and responsibly.
- The alleged embezzler acquired this property via their relationship with its rightful owner and not via another way.
- The accused had to take the property or transfer it to another unauthorized person (conveyance).
- The accused individual acted with intent.
Develop a firm defense strategy to the charges
Embezzlement charges are a very serious type of employee theft. To be accused of wrongfully appropriating the company’s funds that were entrusted to you to secure and manage can land you in jail if convicted and make you unemployable in your former industry.
If you were set up by another employee, that person may have been caught on camera accessing the cash register using your employee code. Even if there is no visual record of this, the IT department may have records indicating which employees were logged in to access funds when the alleged theft occurred.
You and your St. Louis criminal defense attorney can work together to craft the best possible defense to the charges that you face.