3 Ways a Defense Attorney Will Argue an Embezzlement Case

Pocketing company money. Cropped shot of a businessman placing money into his pocket

This year, the World Meeting of Families is being held in Philadelphia. The Vatican’s archbishop, Vincenzo Paglia, who is in charge of overseeing this meeting is currently being investigated for embezzlement.

In an article written on May 29, 2015 by David O’Reilly, staff writer for The Inquirer, the archbishop is facing charges of fraud and criminal conspiracy. Why? Apparently, the archbishop was sold a castle by Italian governmental officials at one third the market value. The archbishop is accused of then trying to sell the castle at market value, earning him over $4 million. Mr. Paglia denies he has done anything wrong.

We hear the term embezzlement in the news every so often, but not everyone completely understands what’s involved in this crime. What is embezzlement and how do attorneys defend clients accused of such a crime?

What Is Embezzlement?

The crime of embezzlement is a form of larceny. Commonly referred to as a misappropriation of funds, it is the act of not only theft, but of fraud.

Some examples of this crime include hiding assets from clients or withdrawing funds from someone else’s trust or bank account. This crime is generally premeditated and can sometimes go on for decades because the embezzler is so good at hiding what they’re doing.

3 Ways to Defend Against Embezzlement Charges

There are times when someone accused of this crime attempts to defend themselves in court. Why is this not a great idea? Well, because an experienced defense attorney knows how to argue such a case. Here are three things they look for when investigating their client’s case.

  1. Question Whether the Defendant’s Actions Constitutes Embezzlement. The first thing a defense attorney will question is whether or not the crime committed is really one of embezzlement and not simply larceny. While both crimes involve theft, to embezzle, a person has to have first been entrusted with the property that was stolen. For example, a lawyer entrusted with a client’s living trust and assets versus a store clerk who has access to the money in the cash register but isn’t entrusted with that money. If the attorney can prove their client was wrongfully accused, they can get the charge of embezzlement dropped.
  2. Was The Crime Really Just Fraud? According to HG.com, another question is whether the crime was simply fraud. Someone who is guilty of fraud finds a way to become the owner of the stolen property, while an embezzler never actually owns the property after they acquire it.
  3. Were Employer Tactics Above Board? At times, the methods used to catch someone embezzling might go against their legal rights. An experienced lawyer knows the tactics used to catch an embezzler and can use this in your defense.

The Bottom Line: Don’t Go It Alone

If you’ve been accused of being an embezzler, contact the law office of John C. Fitzpatrick. They have the experience necessary to help get the charges against you reduced or even dropped. There’s no reason to try and defend yourself when you can have an experienced lawyer in your corner.