Defending Against DC Federal Embezzlement Charges

Embezzlement charges can have serious consequences for an individual if they are convicted. In an embezzlement case, it is important for defense attorneys to understand the individual elements so they can attack the facts of the case. It is important for defense attorneys to thoroughly investigate a prosecutor’s allegations, including a careful review of financial records, bank statements, and credit card statements, to determine whether prosecutors are accurately presenting facts. If you have been charged with embezzlement, it is important that you consult a capable embezzlement lawyer with experience defending against DC federal embezzlement charges. Work with a qualified attorney that could advocate for you.

Elements Prosecutors Must Prove

Prosecutors need to be able to prove that the person they have charged is actually the person that wrongfully obtained, used, or transferred another person’s property without that person’s authorization. If prosecutors are claiming this is done through use of a company credit card, for example, prosecutors need to prove that the person they have charged was actually the individual who is using that credit card or that company account improperly. In the event that there are cases of mistaken identity where prosecutors are mistakenly charged the wrong person, it is very important for defense attorneys to investigate other possible individuals who may have been the true perpetrator as opposed to the person charged when defending against DC federal embezzlement charges.

Common Defenses

Other frequent avenues of defenses in embezzlement cases include the defense that the person who the prosecutors have charged did, in fact, have the authorization to use the property or funds in the way that they actually used them. A connected situation to that defense is situations in which authorization is unclear. There are many companies that grant certain employees expense accounts that allow the employee to charge certain expenses to a company credit card or to a company account, and sometimes there can be a very fine line between when those expenses are personal expenses or when they are company expenses. This can potentially result in a person violating company policy by improperly using a company account for personal expenses, but violations of company policy may not necessarily rise to the level of crimes since mistakenly misunderstanding the company policy or the company rules around authorization can result in people making honest mistakes.

In those situations, defense attorneys should raise arguments that company policies may have been unclear or may have not been properly explained to the defendant. These situations could potentially still result in a defendant being terminated from the job for improper use of the company account but that does not necessarily rise to the level of a criminal offense that could potentially result in a criminal conviction and possibly years in prison. It is important to distinguish between violations of company policies and actual criminal violations and that is a very important area that defense attorneys should thoroughly investigate and argue on the defendant’s behalf.

Defenses That Should Not be Applied in DC Embezzlement Cases

A defense that cannot or should not be applied in embezzlement cases is ignorance. A common question attorneys hear is whether it is a defense that the defendant did not know they were specifically committing a crime when they, for example, used company funds for personal expenses. There is a common saying in criminal law that ignorance of the law is not a defense.  What that basically means is that it is not a defense if the defendant did not know that their actions constituted a crime. That does not just apply for embezzlement cases; it applies for most criminal offenses as well. Prosecutors do not need to specifically prove that a defendant was aware of a crime called embezzlement or crime called theft and that the defendant intended to violate that law. If an individual wants to know more about defending against DC federal embezzlement charges, they should consult a knowledgeable embezzlement lawyer that could answer their questions.