DC Federal Embezzlement Attorney

White Collar Crimes are typically non-violent financial and business related crimes. Often, they involve the attempt to gain property or money through fraud or misrepresentation, or they can involve the misappropriation of money or property to which a person is entrusted. A DC federal embezzlement attorney can best explain how local or federal law might apply to the facts in your case. Call today to learn more and discuss the next steps you should take with a federal defense attorney.

What is Embezzlement

Embezzlement commonly refers to the theft, diversion, or misappropriation of a company’s or organization’s funds or property by an employee, volunteer, or other person trusted with access to the accounts. It can be perpetrated by anyone with access to the organization’s funds—from a store clerk skimming from the till to a CEO using corporate money to fund lavish vacations and personal expenses.

Some of those who find themselves confronting embezzlement charges have faced serious financial difficulty, and they think of their acts as borrowing from the employer. In many cases, the accused truly intends to repay any alleged embezzled money before it is ever discovered missing.

Others may not realize that seemingly small acts can expose them to prosecution for embezzlement related crimes. For example, using the company’s gas card to fill up the tank of one’s personal vehicle for a trip that crosses interstate lines could be prosecuted as embezzlement in federal court. Another example includes using a company car for personal travel across interstate lines without authorization could be prosecuted as a form of embezzlement in federal court.

The cumulative effect of these seemingly small acts can lead an otherwise law-abiding person to be investigated for federal criminal crimes. The damage to one’s professional reputation can seem as daunting as the prospect of incarceration and criminal fines, but with successful defense representation from a DC embezzlement attorney, a person charged with embezzlement can reach a satisfactory outcome. In some cases, this may include a plea to reduced charges, an acquittal at trial, or a dismissal of the case entirely.

DC Embezzlement Laws

Embezzlement is a white collar crime that can be prosecuted by either the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia Superior Court for alleged violations of local law or in U.S. District Court for alleged violations of federal law. Where the case is brought will depend on the facts and circumstances of the alleged offense and prosecutorial discretion. The DC Code prohibits embezzlement and defines it as a theft crime where a person allegedly “wrongfully obtains or uses” another’s property. The government can prosecute a person for embezzlement regardless of whether the money or property was unlawfully obtained by the accused through physically taking an item outright or through misappropriating money or property entrusted to the person who “wrongfully obtained” it.

Under local DC law, the DC Code breaks down theft crimes into degrees, each punished according to its perceived severity:

  • First Degree Theft – If the value of the stolen or misappropriated money or property is $1,000 or more, a person convicted of first-degree theft faces a maximum penalty of 10 years’ incarceration
  • Second Degree Theft – If the value of the stolen or misappropriated money or property is less than $1,000, a person convicted of second-degree theft faces a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail

However, under the local DC law penalties are enhanced for repeat offenders. For example, a person with two prior theft convictions faces a mandatory minimum of one year in jail, and a maximum of up to 10 years in prison, if convicted for a third theft crime. Such a person is not eligible for probation, a suspended sentence, or early release until the mandatory minimum period of incarceration has been served, so if accused it is imperative someone contacts a DC federal embezzlement lawyer as soon as possible.

Federal Embezzlement

The federal government often prosecutes those accused of embezzlement in federal court when the alleged embezzlement involves public money, money or property of a federal agency, an organization receiving federal funds, a financial institution, the alleged theft involves interstate or international commerce or the alleged theft involves stealing tools to be used in counterfeiting government documents and/or U.S. currency.

Title 18 Chapter 31 of the United States Code deals with embezzlement and theft, and that chapter of federal law has 30 specific statutes describing and penalizing various types of theft, including but not limited to:

  • Embezzlement of public money  – If the value of the embezzled public funds is less than $1,000, the crime carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. If, however, the value of embezzled property is $1,000 or more, the crime is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
  • Theft of Tools and Materials to Counterfeit  – Taking the tools and materials necessary to counterfeit or forge documents or currency is a felony punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
  • Theft or Embezzlement by a Bank Examiner or Bank Employee  – Theft by a bank examiner carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and disqualification from holding office as a national bank examiner. Embezzlement by an employee of a bank or financial institution carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and up to a $1,000,000 fine.
  • Embezzlement from a Program Receiving Federal Funds – Embezzling $5,000 or more from any program receiving at least $10,000 in federal funds in a one-year period is a felony punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison.

The United States government also has jurisdiction over cases involving embezzlement from an employee benefit plan and embezzlement in connection with health care .

Contacting a Federal Embezzlement Attorney

If you are investigated or indicted for embezzlement in a federal case, contact a DC federal embezzlement lawyer as quickly as possible. You will need to can discuss your options and make an informed decision on how to deal with these allegations as soon as possible.