Embezzlement is a unique form of stealing that not only violates the law but also involves a breach of trust among parties who know and rely upon one another. If you have been charged with this offense, you should contact a seasoned fraud attorney. The sooner you obtain the advice of a reputable Fulton County embezzlement lawyer, the better your chances of effectively responding to the charges and protecting your rights and future.
Theft is an overall category describing situations in which someone takes something that does not belong to them. As with all offenses involving stolen items, embezzlement also deprives the rightful owner of their property. However, it differs from other forms of theft because the parties enjoy a special relationship.
In many cases, the suspect is a fiduciary and has a duty to act in the owner’s best interests. This relationship often grants the accused access to large sums of money or valuable goods. Roles that commonly invite embezzlement charges include employees, accountants, bankers, trustees, and legal guardians.
People in such positions of trust must carefully discharge their duties. Even if not convicted, embezzlement charges can tarnish reputations and ruin careers. If an individual finds themselves the focus of such criminal investigations, dedicated embezzlement attorneys in Fulton County might help them through these difficult times.
In Georgia, embezzlement is called conversion. The Official Code of Georgia § 16-8-4 identifies the elements of this crime as the following:
When conversion involves property other than money or other easily valued funds or items, the court accepts the market appraisal at the time of the illicit conduct or trial date, whichever is higher.
To achieve a guilty verdict, the prosecutor must establish each component of the crime. There is no support for a conversion conviction if any element is missing. By working with a lawyer experienced in this area, suspects may establish holes in the prosecution’s case and mitigate or avoid punishment entirely.
The severity of penalties for conversion depends on the misappropriated property’s value. O.C.G.A. § 16-8-12 outlines the various levels of punishment and aggravating factors.
Property worth less than $500 subjects a defendant to a misdemeanor offense, which O.C.G.A. § 17-10-3(a) punishes with a jail term of up to one year and a fine not to exceed $1000. If the property is between $500 and $25,000, a defendant may spend one to ten years in prison and pay a maximum fine of $1000. Property valued at $25,000 or more brings a prison term of two to 20 years. The judge may also order defendants to return the property or pay restitution.
Fulton County embezzlement lawyers could help the accused argue against the application of aggravating factors, introduce evidence of mitigating circumstances, and press the court for the most favorable and appropriate sentences.
A strong defense strategy is crucial to realizing an acquittal, dismissal, or reduced penalty. Working with a Fulton County embezzlement lawyer may bring such favorable results within reach. Schedule your first meeting with the firm today to begin the process.