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What are some defenses against embezzlement?

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2023 | Federal Criminal Defense

Embezzlement is a serious crime that involves the misappropriation of funds entrusted to an individual’s care. While an embezzlement charge is intimidating, the right information can help you navigate the issue effectively.

If you find yourself facing embezzlement charges, you must be aware of the legal defenses available to protect your rights.

Lack of intent

One common defense against embezzlement charges is to argue that there was no intent to commit the crime. To establish this defense, you must show that you did not knowingly and willfully take the funds with the intention of depriving the rightful owner of them. If you can prove that your actions were accidental or lacked criminal intent, it can weaken the prosecution’s case.

Consent or authorization

You can also demonstrate that the alleged embezzlement occurred with the knowledge and authorization of the owner of the funds. This might involve presenting documents or witnesses that can testify to the fact that you had permission to use the funds in question.

Lack of evidence

Those faced with a charge of embezzlement can challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution. This could involve questioning the reliability and credibility of witnesses or disputing the accuracy of financial records. If the prosecution fails to provide sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, the case may fall apart.

Ownership dispute

In some cases, embezzlement charges can arise from disputes over ownership of the funds. If the accused can establish a legitimate claim to the funds, it may serve as a defense against embezzlement. This defense relies on demonstrating that the ownership of the funds was genuinely in question and not clear-cut.

Duress or coercion

If the accused felt compelled to commit embezzlement under threats or coercion by another party, it can also serve as a defense. Proving that the accused had no choice but to engage in the illegal activity due to fear for their safety or well-being can be a persuasive argument.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the rate for embezzlement arrests is 6.5 per every 100,000 people. While embezzlement charges are serious, understanding relevant legal defenses can help protect your rights and potentially lead to a favorable outcome in your case.