Most theft crimes involve alleged offenders taking property or items of value that they had no legal claim to? But what happens when a person who is responsible for money or assets misappropriates that property for his or her own personal use?
Embezzlement is a form of theft in which an alleged offender illegally uses the money, funds, or assets they had control over. While many people believe that this crime only involves those who are in charge of accounts with millions of dollars and tremendous assets, the fact is that there are several people in lower positions of power who may be charged with embezzling.
Salt Lake City Embezzlement Lawyer
Are you being investigated or have you been charged with allegedly embezzling money, assets, or other items of value in Utah? You will want to make sure that you have skilled legal counsel as soon as possible.
Utah embezzlement attorney Darren Levitt defends people in and around Salt Lake County who have been accused of this crime, including Weber County, Wasatch County, Utah County, Tooele County, Summit County, Morgan County, Davis County, Cache County, and Box Elder County. You can have Levitt Legal, PLLC review your case by calling (801) 455-1743 today to arrange a free, confidential consultation.
Utah Embezzlement Information Center
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Types of Embezzlement Charges in Salt Lake County
Under Utah Code § 76-6-403, an accusation of this crime may be supported by evidence that it was committed in any manner specified in Under Utah Code §§ 76-6-404 through 76-6-410. There are a wide variety of schemes that may result in this type of criminal charge.
Embezzlement may involve cash, credit, or negotiable instruments such as checks and promissory notes. A few examples of how these types of crimes are committed include, but are not limited to:
- Cash — This frequently occurs in businesses with employees who regularly handle large amounts of cash and involves workers pocketing money that was intended go to the establishment without recording a sale so there is no discrepancy. This can also involve the misappropriation of a company’s “petty cash” funds.
- Account Management — Alleged offenders may falsify bank statements, balance sheets, or payments to vendors, consultants, repair companies, or other entities to disguise funds that have actually been drawn for personal use.
- Payroll — People employed as managers or other positions of power at larger businesses may have friends or relatives draw checks from the company even though they are not actual employees.
- Lapping — An alleged offender who is responsible for accepting regular payments from multiple entities misallocates the actual amounts to disguise funds he or she has diverted for his or her own personal use.
- Other Company Property — Not all instances of this crime involve money. In some cases, alleged offenders may misappropriate funds for of simply take such property as computers, office equipment, or vehicles.
Some of these types of embezzlement occur in specific kinds of businesses. Alleged offenders are rarely people who have previous criminal records, and many believe that they had no criminal intent because they either had an intention to pay back or return stolen assets or believed the actions would not negatively impact the company.
A few of the most common industries in which this crime typically occurs includes, but are not limited to:
- Banks and financial institutions
- Bars, restaurants, and hospitality establishments
- Charitable organizations
- Homeowner associations
- Religious organizations
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Utah Penalties for Embezzlement
An alleged offender who is convicted of this crime is subject to the same statutory maximums that are outlined in Utah Code § 76-6-412 for theft offenses. The classification of the crime depends on the amount of property or goods that was allegedly embezzled.
If the value of the property or services embezzled:
- Is less than $500 — Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and fine of up to $1,000
- Is or exceeds $500 but is less than $1,500 — Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and fine of up to $2,500
- Is or exceeds $1,500 but is less than $5,000 — Third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and fine of up to $5,000
- Is or exceeds $5,000 — Second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fine of up to $10,000
It is important to note that the classifications listed above are subject to enhancement in certain cases if the alleged offender has previous convictions relating to theft, robbery, burglary with intent to commit theft, fraud offenses listed under Utah Code § 76-6-5, or any attempt to commit any of these offenses. There are also automatic classifications for certain types of property, such as offenses involving specific livestock like a stallion, mare, colt, gelding, cow, heifer, steer, ox, bull, calf, sheep, goat, mule, jack, jenny, swine, poultry, or a fur-bearing animal raised for commercial purposes will be classified as a third-degree felony regardless of value.
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Salt Lake County Embezzlement Defenses
Many people who are accused of this crime did not believe that they were breaking the law. In some cases, alleged offenders may have rationalized their behavior or found certain justifications for their actions.
In other cases, people may simply be innocent. While every case is different, some of the common defenses that can be utilized in embezzlement cases include, but are not limited to:
- No criminal intent
- False accusation
- Consent of owner or supervisor
- Lack of evidence
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Find an Embezzlement Lawyer in Salt Lake City
If you were recently arrested or believe you are under investigation for allegedly embezzling some kind of assets, having legal representation will give you the best chance of securing a favorable outcome. Darren Levitt fights to get these types of criminal charges significantly reduced or completely dismissed.
Levitt Legal, PLLC represents clients in communities throughout the greater Salt Lake County area, including West Valley City, West Jordan, Taylorsville, South Jordan, Riverton, Murray, Midvale, Cottonwood Heights, and Draper. Call (801) 455-1743 right now to take advantage of a free, no obligation consultation that will allow our firm to review your case.