New York Federal Embezzlement Lawyer

Embezzlement is the crime of appropriating the money or property of another by someone who has been entrusted with access to that money or property. It can be a lawyer, a banker, an accountant, even a government officer can commit embezzlement.

Anyone that has been given access to money or property and then abuses that access by taking even just a small portion for themselves is committing embezzlement.

If you want to know more about embezzlement and what it entails, contact a knowledgeable federal criminal defense attorney that can help. Work with a New York federal embezzlement lawyer can work diligently to build your case.  

Difference Between Federal Embezzlement and State Level Embezzlement

Federal embezzlement and state embezzlement statutes have coextensive jurisdiction. That means that one single act of embezzlement could result in a federal case or state case. In order for there to be a federal case, there must be some federal jurisdictional hook.

That is why most federal embezzlement statutes are related to some federal program, e.g., a financial institution which would be protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) or an individual who is working for the federal government. That is how a case typically becomes a federal embezzlement case versus another state-level embezzlement case.

Charges Not Related to Federal Programs

There are certain charges not involving the same type of federal programs like the FDIC or the federal government that can result in a federal embezzlement case.

An embezzlement that is tied to either wire fraud or mail fraud, for example, could end up being a federal case. In the event that someone is charged with federal embezzlement, they should consult a New York federal embezzlement lawyer that can begin to build their case

Different Types of Federal Embezzlement Crimes

Prosecutors treat these crimes very, very seriously, especially when they involve the breach of public trust such as when the embezzlement of public funds is at issue. The most frequently charged federal embezzlement offenses either involve banking institutions or government employees who have been entrusted with access to public funds. There are also federal charges of mail fraud and wire fraud which can be used to prosecute embezzlement cases, although they are not solely embezzlement statutes.

Examples of Federal Embezzlement Charges

With regards to the embezzlement of public funds or property, the broadest and most frequently utilized statute by federal prosecutors is 18 U.S.C. § 641. This statute provides that whoever steals or embezzles without authority, either for their own use or that for another, any record, money, or thing of value of the United States or any agency thereof can be imprisoned for a maximum of ten years. 

This also applies if someone steals any property made or being made under contract for the United States, or to receives and conceals something with the intent to convert it for their own use or gain, knowing that it has been embezzled, stolen, or converted. However, the 10-year maximum does not come into play unless the aggregate value of property or currency at issue is less than $1,000, which would lower the maximum period of incarceration to only one year. A New York federal embezzlement lawyer can attempt to shorten the length of that sentence and mitigate those penalties.

Specific Statutes Addressing Federal Embezzlement

In addition to 18 U.S.C. § 641, there are a number of other more specific statutes targeting the embezzlement of public funds, e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 643, which targets federal employees who improperly retain money as salary and yet fail to account for it. 18 U.S.C. § 644 prohibits persons who are not authorized depositories of public money from knowingly receiving or appropriating such money when they are not permitted to.

18 U.S.C. § 648 forbids the custodians of public funds from loaning or converting that money. 18 U.S.C. § 649 provides that any person who possesses or controls money belonging to the United States and fails to deposit it is guilty of embezzlement.  A conviction under any of those statutes may result in up to a 10-year sentence of imprisonment. A New York federal embezzlement attorney can have knowledge of these statues and can use that knowledge to build a person’s case.

What Factors Separately Distinguish Different Federal Embezzlement Crimes?

Typically the factors that separate different federal embezzlement offenses relate to the position of the individual who allegedly embezzled the funds and where the money or property emanated. The mail fraud and wire fraud statutes are very generalized and may be used for many of these situations as well.

Penalties for Embezzlement

Theft of government property or money exceeding $1,000 would mean that an individual is violating 18 U.S.C. §§ 641, 643, 648 and 649, which all authorize a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment. That would be the most immediate consequence of a federal embezzlement conviction. A New York federal embezzlement lawyer can work with an individual to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.

Aggravating Factors in Embezzlement Cases

The factors that might increase the severity of these penalties depends on the aggravating factors of the case. Typically, this would involve the type of relationship that was breached between the victim and the defendant, and the amount of money that was taken. Additionally, if there are any threats of violence or violence itself associated with the alleged embezzlement, the penalties would likely increase.

Personal Consequences of a Conviction

In addition to a lengthy period of incarceration, it will be difficult for any person who maintains a career that requires a professional license to have this conviction. That would be a lawyer, a doctor, or anyone required to have a Series 7 or 63 license, or even a real estate agent. All of these people may have difficulty maintaining their positions if they have a federal embezzlement conviction.

Speaking With a Federal Embezzlement Attorney

A New York federal embezzlement lawyer can be an indispensable resource for those who have been charged with embezzlement. Your attorney should have knowledge of the relevant statutes and can use their knowledge (in conjunction with evidence they have collected) to build your case. If you have been charged with federal embezzlement, retain the services of a skilled federal defense attorney that can work tirelessly to defend your case, and protect your reputation.