If your employer accused you of embezzlement, you may fear for the worst whether their claim is true or not. Beyond the unlawful taking of money, your alleged actions breached the trust of an organization that vested it in you. These actions, if proven, could lead to serious charges and punishment. If you’re facing these, it’s important to know what counts as embezzlement and what its consequences are.

Understanding embezzlement

Embezzlement is the misappropriation of organizational assets for personal gain. This crime often pertains to funds. But you could face accusations of embezzling property – like electronics or equipment – as well. Many embezzlers hold positions where they work with organizational assets. With access to these, they can find ways to skim them over time. Or, they may instead take a large amount of them on a single occasion.

Not all taking of organizational property is embezzlement. For your alleged actions to meet its threshold, you must have held a fiduciary role in your organization. Furthermore, you must have abused this position with intent to acquire the property. You then must have used the property for your own gain or transferred it to someone else. And you must have had no intent of ever giving it back.

Embezzlement’s consequences

New York uses its grand larceny statutes to punish embezzlement. No matter what your employer accused you of taking, you will face felony charges. Depending on the value of the assets you allegedly embezzled, you could potentially face anywhere from 1 1/3 years to 25 years in prison. You will also have to pay a fine. This payment could be as little as $5,000 or as much as twice the amount taken – whichever is greater.

Because embezzlement accusations are serious, you do not need to endure yours alone. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand your options.