Embezzlement in Fairfax County
Embezzlement is arguably the most serious larceny offense in Virginia. Prosecutors and the Courts in Fairfax County take Embezzlement cases more seriously than other types of Larceny cases because it involves the betrayal of trust of the employer by the employee. The crime is deemed one of moral turpitude and, as a result, a conviction may lead to difficulties maintaining employment, security clearances, and are important in immigration cases. Hiring an Embezzlement Lawyer will be very important to your case. We offer a Free Consultation to discuss your case.
What is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is defined under §18.2-111 as a larceny. It is defined as a conversion (taking) of another's property by an individual entrusted with possession of that property to his own or another's use or benefit. The key difference in Virginia between Embezzlement and other types of larceny offenses is that Embezzlement involves the conversion of property that was received with the owner's consent. The typical scenario is an employee, such as a cashier, stealing from the employer by taking funds from the cash drawer the employee is assigned to. The taking of funds generally happens over time and, in the end, the biggest issue with catching an Embezzlement charge is, if convicted, who will ever hire you?
Even if the Defendant diverts funds to the benefit of another (and not of himself), the action is sufficient to establish a wrongful appropriation of property to his or her own use. (chiang v commonwealth, 6 Va App 613).
However, the conversion of property under a bona fide claim of ownership is not embezzlement. To constitute embezzlement, there must be a fraudulent intent to deprive the owner of his property. (whitlow v. Commonwealth, 184 Va. 910).
Many Embezzlement charges in Fairfax County occur when people use their employee benefit cards to get the points themselves (such as swiping their card if the customer does not have one). These points are then used towards purchases. In other instances, gift cards are taken without the employer's knowledge.
The punishment for Embezzlement depends on the dollar value of the goods taken. If the fair market value (including depreciation) of the property is less than $200, it would constitute a misdemeanor embezzlement. As a result, a misdemeanor charge carries a penalty range of up to 12 months in jail with a $2500 fine. If the fair market value (including depreciation) of the property is $200 or more, it would constitute a felony embezzlement. Therefore, a felony embezzlement charge carries a penalty range of up to 20 years in prison with a $2500 fine.
Get a Lawyer for your Embezzlement Charge in Fairfax County
It is strongly recommend you appear in court with a lawyer in an Embezzlement case. Whether or not the charge is a felony or misdemeanor, it will be exceedingly difficult to obtain employment in the future with an embezzlement conviction. Even if you're legally guilty of the offense, there are certain mitigating factors that can help. Even if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, apply for a court-appointed lawyer to give yourself the best chance at a favorable outcome.
In embezzlement cases in Fairfax County, we will recommend you make restitution prior to court (i.e. make the employer whole). In addition, we may recommend a shoplifter's course. Our goal is the have the matter dismissed or reduced to another lesser offense so it won't ruin your record.