No one wants to be accused of a crime. It’s a terrifying experience and you’re justifiably concerned about what will happen to you, your life and your career. Embezzlement is a very unique charge, as it almost always relates to an aspect of your employment. But it must be investigated quickly so that your defense strategy is as sound as possible.
It’s a particular type of theft
New York prohibits embezzlement under its general larceny statutes, but it’s a peculiar kind of theft. The concept of embezzlement is that the person accused of it had a fiduciary relationship with whatever was stolen – in other words, they rightfully had at least some control of and responsibility for the property in question.
So, unlike typical theft cases, the question isn’t whether the accused should have had the property at all. Instead, it’s whether they used or appropriated the property beyond the authority they rightfully had. This is why embezzlement frequently arises in the context of employment, because an employer gives the employee responsibility for the property but then claims the employee went too far.
The complexity demands investigation
An accusation of embezzlement is not the same as a conviction for embezzlement. Because of the nature of the relationship between the accused and the property, it’s easy to confuse innocent conduct with illegal action. All it takes is for one person to misunderstand something you did and, the next thing you know, the allegation has been made.
This is why it’s critical to get help quickly, so that an investigation into the circumstances can begin. Witnesses will need to be interviewed and documents will need to be reviewed – with your interests in mind, rather than those of your employer. It helps to ensure that you’re treated fairly and the outcome is more positive.