New Jersey Embezzlement Lawyers
If you’re charged with embezzlement in New Jersey, you probably have many questions. What is embezzlement? Am I going to jail? The NJ fraud lawyers at the law firm of Aiello, Harris, Abate, Law Group PC are here to give you a breakdown of the basics of embezzlement charges in New Jersey to ease some of your concerns.
Embezzlement vs. theft: the difference in NJ
Embezzlement is a type of property theft and New Jersey law does not differentiate between the two. In other words, there is no separate charge of “embezzlement” in New Jersey – you’ll just be charged with “theft.”
Yet, as a general definition, embezzling money or property means the defendant stole money or property AND at some point in time, the defendant was legally entrusted with monitoring or managing that property; however, the defendant never had legal ownership of that money or property. In other words, while the defendant could manage or monitor that money, they never had the right to use it for themselves.
Examples of embezzlement:
- A manager of a restaurant steals money out of the register
- A bank teller steals money from a patron
- A person in charge of payroll creates fake employees to issue checks to
- A worker intentionally falsifies his time card to incur overtime pay
What are possible punishments for embezzling money in NJ?
There are endless ways to embezzle money, but when it comes to embezzlement charges, your criminal sentence depends on the amount of money stolen:
- Less than $200 – disorderly person’s offense with jail time of up to six months and fines up to $1000.
- $200-$500 – 4th degree crime with jail time of up to 18 months and fines up to $10,000.
- $500-$75,000 – 3rd degree crime with jail time of up to five years and fines up to $15,000.
- More than $75,000 – 2nd degree crime with jail time of up to ten years and fines up to $150,000
You could also be charged with embezzling state or federal health care funds benefits, which carry different penalties.
Proving embezzlement: evidence needed
The burden is on the prosecution to prove you are guilty of theft/embezzlement. The State must show that:
- The defendant unlawfully took or misappropriated the alleged money or property, meaning the State must show that the money or property was in your possession
- The defendant intended to deprive the owner of his or her property, meaning the State must show you knew you were stealing money or property that didn’t belong to you
Evidence could include the company’s financial statements, your personal bank statements, evidence you spent the money stolen, witness testimony, photographic evidence, and more.
Disproving embezzlement: your possible defenses
You can use a number of defenses to disprove embezzlement charges:
- Duress – you acted under the threat or intimidation of someone else
- Insanity – you were not mentally sound at the time of the event
- Insufficient evidence – the State did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty
- Absence of intent – you did not actually intend to steal money, and you thought the money belonged to you
- The money actually belonged to you – if the original owner of the money or property transferred official ownership to you, you could not be found guilty of embezzlement
Contact our New Jersey embezzlement lawyers today
To learn more about embezzlement charges in NJ, contact an NJ fraud lawyer at the law firm of Aiello, Harris, Abate, Law Group PC by calling (908) 561-5577 or contact us online today.