Evidence in New York Federal Embezzlement Cases

Federal embezzlement is a serious crime, with life-altering consequences. Because of the weight of these charges, evidence in New York federal embezzlement cases is of the utmost importance. The strength of your defense, as well as the strength of the prosecution’s argument, rest on the validity and strength of the evidence. If you face embezzlement charges, speak with a skilled federal embezzlement attorney that can use evidence to build a solid case for you.

Elements Needed to Prove a Case

The elements the prosecution must prove in a federal embezzlement case depends on the statute that was being used for the prosecution.  For example, to sustain an embezzlement charge relating to the theft or embezzlement of federal property, the prosecutor would need to prove that the defendant embezzled, stole, purloined or knowingly converted the use for their own use or for the use another, anything of value.

Then the prosecutor would have to show that the items of value, the federal property or money was worth more than a $1,000. They would also have to show that the defendant did so willingly, and knowingly, with the intent to appropriate the property from that person which would be inconsistent with the alleged victim’s rights and benefits.

Prosecutors cannot do much without evidence in New York federal embezzlement cases. Typically, prosecutors would use e-mails or other records, such as bank records, in order to prove the elements of an embezzlement offense.

Proving Intent

One of the elements of 18 U.S.C. § 641 is that the defendant acted willfully with the intent to steal money or use it in a way that it was inconsistent with the rights or benefits of the alleged victim. This can be demonstrated in any number of ways – such as the defendant using the allegedly stolen money for themselves.

Intent can be inferred by the jury from the defendant’s actions. However, evidence in New York federal embezzlement cases can include e-mails and wiretaps. These kinds of evidence can be devastating to a defendant with regard to proving intent.

Investigating Federal Embezzlement Cases

There are primarily two federal law enforcement agencies that handle these cases, the FBI and the Secret Service. The United States Postal Service Inspectors frequently are also involved when the case involves mail fraud.

Frequently it starts with a subpoena being issued. If it is a bank and the embezzlement is committed by a bank officer, it would be a subpoena sent to the bank for the financial records. Then there would be the execution of search warrants and witness interviews, which are very common, and, if necessary, there may be electronic surveillance such as wiretaps.

How Does the Government Obtain Financial Documents?

The government goes about obtaining evidence in New York federal embezzlement cases through the service of a subpoena unless the party is willing to voluntarily turn over the records, such as a financial institution that is willing to cooperate with the Government during an investigation, which frequently happens.

If the government wants to access materials that they would not otherwise be entitled to, they would need a warrant in order to conduct the search or compel another individual to turn them over.

Embezzlement in New York City

New York is a large city with larger businesses and more money to potentially be embezzled.  There could theoretically be many more federal embezzlement cases in a location where there are many federal government contracts because there would be more money, and more situations that meet the jurisdiction requirements for a federal prosecution are met.   

Embezzlement does not necessarily become a federal charge just because it involves a non-profit organization. Sometimes both a state and a federal prosecutor are involved. The defendant could have the theft of money charge (the embezzlement of money from a bank) as both a state crime and a federal crime. The fact that one of those jurisdictional elements is present does not automatically make it a federal charge, it just becomes available to be prosecuted federally.

Defenses for Embezzlement Charges

A good faith defense that the defendant was not actually acting in a manner that was inconsistent with the owner’s rights and benefits, but trying to help that individual.

The government needs to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence in New York federal embezzlement cases that they compile and produce to support each element can come from any number of sources: from e-mails to wiretaps to live witness testimony.  Anyone of those or all of them together could be used for the prosecution to secure a conviction. If you want to know more about defending yourself against these charges, speak with a capable federal embezzlement attorney that can advocate for you.