Most employees never intended to find themselves involved in some type of theft or embezzlement situation. Most officers in home owners associations, clubs, unions and organizations never set out with a plan to steal. Embezzlement is often a crime that is a result of some other underlying problem such as a medical emergency, drug addiction, gambling addiction or personal crisis. It often starts with something small like taking money from petty cash or stealing supplies. Most embezzlement situations grow slowly until they are totally out of hand. Ultimately, they end in arrest, public humiliation and embarrassment and sometimes jail. Embezzlement can be prosecuted in State Court but if Federal wire fraud laws or money laundering is involved the case can end up in United States District Court.
Sometimes it is possible to prevent an arrest and work out a restitution plan if the problem is addressed early on. Over the years, I have represented bookkeepers, corporate officers, tellers and trusted employees that have been accused by their employer of financial improprieties. Over the years, I have represented bookkeepers, corporate officers, tellers and trusted employees that have been accused by their employer of financial improprieties. As an experienced criminal lawyer, I have found that many times, the company or organizations is more interested in getting their money back than putting someone in jail. A caregiver stealing from an elderly person, a lawyer taking trust funds or a professional financial advisor manipulating an account can find themselves held to a higher standard. The Florida sentencing guidelines may call for a State prison sentence, which for a professional is catastrophic. A felony conviction is a life altering event that may keep you from ever again getting a good job.
It may be possible to solve the problem and prevent an arrest, if during the investigation, the lawyer can open negotiations with both the victim and the State attorney. Never try and talk your way out of it alone. Never confess or admit to anything. Never meet with an investigator from your employer or anyone in law enforcement. Your statement may provide the missing link and ultimately be used against you. It is critical that you “lawyer up” immediately before doing or saying something that will come back to haunt you. As a former Federal Agent and forensic accountant, I have a good grasp on tracing funds and understanding complicated financial situations. Not all defense lawyers really understand numbers and accounting. If multiple employees are involved a conspiracy to defraud can be charged. Early intervention is absolutely critical. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, or are under investigation, or simply have a guilty conscience call today for a free consultation. I can be reached at either my office in Sarasota at 941 366 3506 or my Ft. Myers office at 239 334 8890