It's estimated that businesses lose up to $90 billion each year to embezzlement. And it's not only big business that's affected. Theft can happen in any company, regardless of size. Embezzlement charges are serious and can result in stiff penalties if you're convicted. However, there are strategies and defenses that can help you avoid the penalties altogether or get them drastically reduced. If you've been charged with stealing money or resources from a company, you should hire a defense attorney right away. An attorney can help you establish a sound defense based on one or more of the following strategies.
Negotiate Directly with Company
Depending on how much money is involved, you could be charged with a felony. To avoid charges, your attorney may be able to negotiate with the company without taking the case to court. In this strategy, your lawyer would ask for the company to drop the charges in exchange for your cooperation. You may have to pay back the money, issue a statement, resign from your position, or any number of things the company requires.
Plea and Payment Deal
After you've been charged, you may seek a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea, which is called a plea bargain. If you take a plea bargain, your attorney can negotiate the terms for you beforehand. You may be able to get better terms if you agree to pay the money back or if you agree to testify against someone else or provide information pertinent to the investigation.
Insufficient Evidence Defense
Up to 40 percent of federal embezzlement cases are dismissed due to lack of evidence. In order to convict you, the prosecution has to be able to convince a jury to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If there isn't enough evidence to link you to the crime, your attorney might want to go this route.
Entrapment or Duress Defense
If you feel like you were forced or tricked into committing the crime, you may have an entrapment or duress defense. Entrapment occurs when someone sets you up or places bait for you to take. Duress occurs when you feel that you will be harmed or lose your job if you don't commit the crime.
As you can see, there are several defense strategies that may help you get out of trouble or lessen the amount of trouble you're in. Be sure to talk to your attorney today regarding your rights and your case if you've been charged with embezzlement. Contact a law firm like Santore & Santore for additional advice.
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