Your life may have drastically changed when you learned that authorities were investigating you on suspicion of embezzlement. You may never have expected your life to take such a serious turn as possibly facing criminal charges.
Because you undoubtedly want to make sure that you handle this type of ordeal in the best manner possible, you may want to learn as much as you can about the situation. Even if you have not yet had formal charges brought against you, just knowing that an investigation is underway gives you reason to understand your legal options.
What is embezzlement?
Embezzlement typically falls into the category of a white-collar crime because the crime commonly takes place in employment or corporate settings, meaning that an employee takes company funds or other assets for personal use. If authorities suspect that you took possession of another person's property for your own use, such as using the funds, selling or giving away assets, permanently keeping them from the lawful owner or damaging the assets, and that you had no intention of returning the assets, you could face embezzlement charges.
Is embezzlement just about money?
Though skimming money from company accounts is one type of embezzlement, the crime does not simply apply to money. For instance, a person could take computers or other devices from a company, sell those devices to others, and keep the profits for him- or herself, which would constitute embezzlement.
Proving the crime
During the investigation, authorities will look for evidence that could point to you as someone who committed this act. However, if charges come against you, the prosecution must prove that you had a fiduciary relationship with the other party, that you used that relationship in order to obtain the assets, that you took ownership of the assets or transferred them to someone else, and that you intentionally carried out the action.
Defending against the crime
Of course, just like with any other type of criminal allegation, you have the right to create and present a defense. If formal charges have not come against you, you may still want to contact a New York criminal defense attorney in order to understand your legal options. Planning ahead could help you feel more in control of the situation and give you a head-start on your case in the event that authorities do bring charges against you.