Though there is no specific statute under Florida law for embezzlement, it will be prosecuted under Florida’s property theft statute, 812.014. Whereas a general petty theft or grand theft charge in Florida involves the taking of property from another that you had no right to, embezzlement involves a fraudulent appropriation of the funds or property of a business or of another person who initially entrusted you with its care. An example would be an employee who works for a finance company entrusted to apply incoming payment checks or money orders to a debtors account. If this employee then takes those checks or money orders and cashes or deposits them for the employee’s benefit, they have misappropriated those funds to themselves and in doing so have committed this kind of crime. Any charge of theft arising from a former position of trust, in our opinion, the most potentially devastating of all crimes of dishonesty.
Charges of this variety require immediate action by a skilled criminal attorney in order to avoid as much direct and collateral damage as possible. Each lawyer handling embezzlement charges at The Mayberry Law Firm is experienced in handling these types of cases in a fashion that will allow our clients the best chance at full recovery. Because this crime typically involves a theft from an employer it is considered a white collar crime involving complex documents, ledgers, bank drafts, and other accounting devices. For these, amongst other reasons, no stone can be left unturned and it is of utmost importance that your attorney conducts an investigation to ensure all evidence is received and no outstanding facts remain. Discovery (evidence received from the State) in white collar cases like these is voluminous to say the least. Our attorneys are dedicated to your case and will stop at nothing to ensure we are familiar with every fact, document, and assertion involved.
Just as with any theft crime, the primary factor in determining the severity of the charge is the amount alleged to have been stolen. If the amount is less than $100, you’re likely going to face second degree misdemeanor charges, punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail and a fine of $500. If the value is $100 or more but less than $300 you will likely be charged with a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 11 months, 29 days in county jail and a fine of $1000.
Felony embezzlement charges are much more serious and involve higher dollar amounts. Felonies can range as follows:
1st Degree Felony- More than $100,000 embezzled or stolen. First degree felonies are punishable by up to 30 years in the Florida Department of Corrections and a $10,000 fine.
2nd Degree Felony- $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000 embezzled or stolen. Second degree felonies are punishable by up to 15 years in the Florida Department of Corrections and a $10,000 fine.
3rd Degree Felony- $300 or more, but less than $20,000 embezzled or stolen. Third degree felonies are punishable by up to 5 years in the Florida Department of Corrections and a $5,000 fine.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 812.0155, embezzling funds can carry a driver’s license suspension as well. If you are adjudicated guilty on your first offense a judge may suspend your license for up 6 months. Should you be adjudicated guilty for committing this crime again, the judge has to suspend your driver’s license for a year.
Attorney Jason Mayberry, impresses upon his clients that the single most important issue in your case is avoiding an adjudication of guilt. Under Florida law, an adjudication of guilt is a formal conviction. With respect to these kinds of charges, being formally convicted means you have been convicted of stealing from your employer or someone who trusted you. Should you be adjudicated of a felony count, you will now be a convicted felon based on a crime of dishonesty. That is just about the most devastating combination you can endure with respect for future job, living, or schooling prospects. Employers view individuals with this combination as unemployable and will not take a chance employing you. Each of our criminal defense lawyers will fight to protect your rights throughout your pending case while ensuring you have the best chance of avoiding a formal conviction. Contact our firm today at 813-444-7435!