Embezzlement, also known as theft by conversion, is considered a white collar crime. That means it is a non-violent crime motivated by money. Essentially, when a person who is entrusted to manage someone else’s money or property instead steals it, it is embezzlement. What makes this distinct from regular theft is that the perpetrator was in a special position of trust with that property and had legal access to the money, but not ownership. For instance, think of a corporate accountant. They could manipulate the numbers to make it seem like the company was making slightly less than it actually was, and pocketing the difference.
In Georgia, there are a variety of factors that dictate the punishment for embezzlement. These include the value and nature of the theft, as well as the age of the victim. Regardless of the situation, if you are charged with this white collar crime in Atlanta, an experienced embezzlement lawyer on your side to ensure you have the best representation is crucial. In fact, it could make the difference between a verdict of guilty or not guilty.
The Specifics of Embezzlement
- If the value of what was stolen was less than $500, it is generally tried as a misdemeanor. The punishment is a fine up to $1,000 and/or jail time up to 12 months. If the value is greater than $500, the judge has the option to try it as a misdemeanor or a felony. The felony comes with a prison sentence of 1 to 10 years.
- If any ferrous materials — metals with iron — were embezzled, it is a felony punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and/or 1 to 5 years in prison.
- If any anhydrous ammonia was embezzled, it is a felony punishable by a fine up to $100,000 and/or 1 to 15 years in prison. This material is often used as a fertilizer, but it highly dangerous to people.
- If the perpetrator acted in a fiduciary manner to an individual, business or financial institution, it is a felony punishable by a fine up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment of 1 to 15 years.
- Embezzling car parts, components and even cars themselves worth more than $100 could be treated as a misdemeanor. If the judge decides not to be lenient, however, the penalty for this felony could be 1 to 20 years in prison. Second and subsequent offenses will automatically be treated as a felony.
- Embezzling a commercial vehicle that is transporting cargo is a felony punishable by a fine between $5,000 and $50,000, and/or 3 to 10 years in prison.
- Embezzlement of firearms or explosives is a felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison.
- Embezzling unharvested commercial crops comes with a penalty of at least $500.
The age of the victim is also a factor in embezzlement cases. Theft by conversion of property with at least $500 from a person 65 years of age or older will grant you no favor with the Georgia judicial system. This crime is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison.
Contact a Georgia Embezzlement Lawyer
As you can see, theft by conversion is a complex area of law. If you have been accused of embezzlement in Atlanta, you need expert representation. Contact an embezzlement lawyer at Hawkins Spizman Fortas today at 770-651-0166 for a free consultation and case evaluation. We will craft a custom plan to fight for your charges to be reduced, if not dropped altogether. Call now.