Embezzlement & Fraud Lawyer in Long Beach, Irvine, Lakewood, Huntington Beach, Orange County, CA, & Nearby

Embezzlement costs individuals and businesses an estimated $400 billion annually. The effects of embezzlement are far-reaching, costing victims more than just financial losses. However, not everyone accused of embezzlement is guilty. Even those who are found guilty of the crime do not always deserve the punishment they receive.

If you have been charged with embezzlement, my law firm can help. McCready Law Group represents clients in white-collar crime cases involving fraudulent activity. I can review your case, discuss your legal options, and fight to get you the best outcome possible. Call me today and get a free case evaluation from an embezzlement lawyer in Long Beach, California.

What is Embezzlement?

Embezzlement is a white-collar crime in which a person or organization misappropriates assets that another party has entrusted to them. Fraud occurs when a person obtains the assets legally but re-purposes them in ways that the client or company did not intend. In essence, embezzlement is a breach of fiduciary responsibility.

In almost all cases, a person who commits embezzlement does so for some type of personal gain. The person is entrusted with access to an organization’s assets and is expected to use those assets as the client intended. However, they may use the funds for another purpose for personal financial gain without the client’s knowledge.

Examples of embezzlement may include:

  • An employee secretly pocketing money from an employer
  • An executive transferring company funds into a personal bank account
  • A third-party diverting funds to an account that appears to be authorized
  • An accountant creating receipts and bills for transactions that never took place
  • A business partner or contractor that takes payment for services or products they did not provide

Charged With Embezzlement?

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Penal Code 503 PC: California Embezzlement Laws

Under California Penal Code 503 PC, an intent to gain or retain assets by deception is against the law. What distinguishes embezzlement from theft or larceny is that there was a fiduciary relationship between the victim and the defendant. The victim entrusted the defendant with the use of specified assets or funds.

For the victim or the prosecution to prove that embezzlement occurred, they must establish four things:

  1. A fiduciary relationship existed between the victim and the defendant
  2. The defendant acquired the asset through the business relationship
  3. The defendant took ownership of the property and transferred it to another entity
  4. The defendant committed these actions intentionally

Failure to establish these facts can lead to dismissal of the case or a reduced sentence.

Penalties for Embezzlement in California

The penalty for embezzlement in California depends on the circumstances of your case. They may include:

  1. Heavy fines
  2. Imprisonment
  3. Compensation for the amount stolen
  4. Compensation for other damages to the victim

Theft of property valued under $950 may result in a petty theft charge. Theft of property valued at over $950 may result in a felony charge, in which the sentencing increases substantially.

Possible Defenses Against an Embezzlement Charge

As your attorney, my job is to assess the charges against you and develop a strategic legal defense that either demonstrates your innocence or reduces your sentence if the court determines that you are guilty. Possible defenses in an embezzlement case may include:

1. A Claim of Good Faith

The defendant openly took the assets or funds, believing that they were justified based on a prior agreement or the defendant’s position. I may be able to prove that you believe that you had the right to acquire the asset.

2. Claim of Authority

I may be able to demonstrate that you had the right to claim the assets through a power of attorney, trust, or other legal agreement. You may have made a previous arrangement with the plaintiff that gave you the right to access and handle the funds at your discretion.

3. No Demand

Although California law does not explicitly state that a formal demand is required to win a case, the victim should request a demand in writing. If there is no evidence of a demand for the return of the property, I may be able to prove that there was no actual embezzlement that occurred.

Get Help from an Embezzlement Lawyer in Long Beach, California

If you need legal representation in an embezzlement case, then contact McCready Law Group. My law firm can look at your case and help determine the right defense to get you the best possible outcome. Call today to get a free case assessment from an Embezzlement Lawyer in Long Beach.  I also work with clients in Cypress Hill, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Lakewood, CA, and throughout Orange County.

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