Corporate Theft vs. Embezzlement in Missouri
While embezzlement is a form of theft, there is a significant difference between embezzlement and corporate theft. Embezzlement occurs when someone entrusted with possession of someone’s property, due to their role or employment, breaches that trust by using the property for personal gains. The embezzler, therefore, breaches the trust and fiduciary duty that he had to those who trusted him. Contrary to popular notions, embezzlement does not always occur in high-profile environments like international banks, but it can happen in many environments. A classic example of embezzlement is when an employee whose duty is to make bank deposits uses those funds for his benefit rather than depositing them into the appropriate bank account.
On the other hand, corporate theft is more widely encompassing than embezzlement. It is defined as any form of stealing, using, or misusing an employer’s assets by an employee without the employer’s permission. So, corporate theft is employee theft and can also include embezzlement. Corporate or employee theft can be as simple as stealing the office computer or taking money out of the cash register. Just so it happens, corporate theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. Whether you are accused of embezzlement or corporate theft, it should not be taken lightly, as such accusations can have serious repercussions.
What to do if you are charged with corporate theft or embezzlement?
Under Missouri law, no separate statute covers embezzlement, but it is recognized as an offense under the state’s theft laws. The same can be stated for corporate theft. Missouri has no corporate theft-specific statute; it is covered under the state’s theft laws. Accordingly, both embezzlement and corporate theft are punishable offenses under Missouri law. The severity of the punishment will depend on the value of the property or services which have been embezzled or stolen. For instance, if the value of the property or services is $500 or less, it is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or fines up to $1,000. Whereas if the value of the property or services under consideration is $25,000 or more, it is considered a Class B felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or fines up to $20,000.
However, like with all accusations, you have a right to defend yourself when accused of embezzlement or corporate theft. You may have valid defenses depending on your situation. For instance, when accused of embezzlement, you might be able to protect yourself by arguing that the transfer of funds you undertook was done in error without any malintent. You also may have other valid defenses to accusations of embezzlement or corporate theft, like the accusation being an outright lie, entrapment, or not knowing that the employer owned the assets under consideration. Regardless of your situation, you should consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney who has experience in defending embezzlement and corporate theft charges. An experienced lawyer will not only help you develop the best defense but will also know how to deal and communicate aptly with all the parties involved, including the prosecution.
Contact experienced criminal defense attorneys today
If you are being accused of having engaged in embezzlement or employee theft, then you should reach out to the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Marler Law Partners. Our team of criminal defense attorneys will meticulously go through any pertinent evidence to develop the best defense strategy for you. Call us today for a free consultation.