Surprising Peril of Embezzlement
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Common Methods of Embezzlement

One of the most famous embezzlement cases in United States history was that of Bernie Madoff where he embezzled over $50 billion dollars from investors/clients through his robust Ponzi scheme. Let’s look at the four elements for which he and many other embezzlers violate the law as well as the most common types of embezzlement in modern times:

The Elements

  1. A trusted relationship was established between two parties which include the person accused and those that are provided the funds to the trusted party;
  2. The accused was given access/permission of funds through some form of employment;
  3. The accused took the funds for personal use; and
  4. The accused acted “with intent” to defraud or deprive the client/customer

In order to be charged under the law in the State of California or under federal law in the United States, one must have committed or be accused of one of many types of embezzlement. The following list is not inclusive, but provides some common examples:

Types of Embezzlement

  1. Skimming funds: This violation involves an employee taking funds from an employee in small increments over a long period of time, oftentimes going undetected.
  2. Misappropriation of large sums: This violation will include the removal/taking of a rather large sum of money from an employer at one time. This was depicted in the movie “Weekend at Bernies” where Bernie, the CEO of an insurance company was showing investments, but placing the funds in a personal offshore account.
  3. Simple embezzlement: This violation occurs when a caregiver takes the social security check of a resident at an assisted care facility and cashes for personal use. On a larger scale we see this occurring with Directors of such facilities misappropriating government checks of their residents and cashing for personal use.
  4. Borrowing: This violation occurs when the treasurer of the city sports recreation department creates a “slush fund” or borrows from the organization’s funds and does not return regardless of their intent to do so.

Differences between Embezzlement and Larceny

The biggest difference between embezzlement and larceny is that larceny is the theft of money or property without consent of the rightful owner. There are three primary elements of larceny that must be met in order to be charged and they are as follows:

  1. Funds or property were taken;
  2. Funds or property were taken without consent; and,
  3. There was intent to deprive a person or financial institution of said funds or property.

Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. We here at the H Law group patiently await your call.

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