Evidence in DC Federal Embezzlement Cases

Evidence is an instrumental part of every case. The prosecution uses evidence to argue for a person’s guilt, while the defense uses evidence to disprove the prosecution’s claims and argue for a person’s innocence. Either way, evidence is clearly important when building a case. If you want to know more about how the prosecution uses evidence in DC federal embezzlement cases, speak with a knowledgeable federal embezzlement lawyer that could advocate for you.

Collecting Evidence in Federal Embezzlement Cases

The evidence in DC federal embezzlement cases needed for the prosecution to prove these elements can be obtained in a number of different ways. In some situations, there may be an eyewitness who saw a wrongful taking of property. In an embezzlement context, it is not uncommon for prosecutors to use financial records, bank records, credit card statements, and other kinds of financial documentation to prove that a defendant obtained property without the authorization of the owner.

As an example, if prosecutors obtain a company employee’s bank account statements and transfers from a company account to a personal account, then that might be one way that prosecutors would attempt to show that a defendant obtained property of value without the permission or authorization of the owner of that property. Prosecutors would frequently conduct interviews with the owner or possessor of the property to confirm whether the owner provided authorization for the use. The testimony or statements from the property owner would frequently be used in a trial in order to prove the first element of a theft case.

Using Evidence to Prove Intent

Simply proving that the defendant attained the property without authorization is not enough. People can accidentally obtain property without authorization or mistakenly obtain it or use it without realizing that they are doing something wrong or without realizing that they do not have authorization do it. That is why prosecutors also need to prove that the defendant intended to deprive the owner of their right or benefit to the property without the authorization of the owner or possessor of the property. The way that prosecutors would prove that is a little more complicated because it is difficult for prosecutors to get inside someone’s head and say this is exactly what a person was thinking at the time of an alleged crime.

Circumstantial Evidence in Embezzlement Cases

Prosecutors are permitted to use what is called circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence literally means evidence based on the circumstances of what was going on when the alleged crime was committed. As an example, if a defendant attempted to conceal the transfer of property or money from one account to another by falsifying bank statements or editing bank statements, then that might be one way that a prosecutor would attempt to prove that the defendant intended to wrongfully obtain the property based on the subsequent actions. The defendants attempted to conceal their actions and that suggests that they intended to wrongfully obtain the money or other property.

Other Types of Evidence That Prosecutors Might Use

Other types of evidence in DC federal embezzlement cases that prosecutors might use to prove intent is frequent transactions. Prosecutors often claim that if a defendant frequently uses a company credit card to make personal purchases, then it is not likely that the defendant did it accidentally. Maybe one time might be an accident, but 27 times might be less likely to be an accident.

Proving Value in DC Federal Embezzlement Cases

The third element of value is fairly easy to prove in a misdemeanor theft case since most items have some value as opposed to air, for example, which has no monetary value. In felony theft cases where prosecutors need to prove that an item obtained has a value of more than $1,000, then prosecutors might need to obtain assessments from professionals in the event that an item is not money. If the item, for example, is a car or electronic equipment, then prosecutors may seek to have those items assessed for their value by a professional.

On the defense side, it is not uncommon for lawyers to challenge those evaluations and seek their own assessments to see if the prosecutors might be overvaluing items or incorrectly assessing their value. In situations of embezzlement where the allegations most commonly are embezzlement of funds,  it is a little bit easier to assess value because the value is the precise value of what was allegedly taken. Prosecutors would be required to determine based on financial statements how much was alleged to have been embezzled. Defense attorneys representing defendants can and should carefully review those records to see if the prosecutors made mistakes in their calculations because that can make a serious difference between a person sometimes being charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. If an individual wants to know more about evidence in DC federal embezzlement cases and how an attorney could use that evidence to defend them, they should call a lawyer and schedule a consultation.