Is Embezzlement A Felony?
Embezzlement is a serious crime in Nevada that can have severe legal consequences. It is considered a white-collar theft crime and can be punishable by imprisonment, fines, and restitution. If you or someone you know has been charged with embezzlement, you may have many questions about your next steps. It’s essential to understand the legal implications, potential consequences, and defenses available. Find the legal advice you need from a skilled criminal defense lawyer at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers to defend your rights and offer you direction throughout the entire legal process.
Continue reading to learn what embezzlement is, how it differs from other types of theft crimes, whether it is a misdemeanor or felony in Nevada, what penalties you could face if convicted, and any potential defenses available to you.
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What Is Embezzlement in Nevada?
In Nevada, embezzlement is the unlawful taking or using of money, property, and other assets you had been entrusted with or were in lawful possession of. While embezzlement commonly occurs in a work environment, it can also happen between friends, family, acquaintances, or total strangers. All that is required is a relationship of trust or confidence.
Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 205.300 defines embezzlement as the following:
“Any bailee of any money, goods, or property, who converts it to [their] own use, with the intent to steal it or to defraud the owner or owners thereof and any agent, manager, or clerk of any person, corporation, association, or partnership, or any person with whom any money, property or effects have been deposited or entrusted, who uses or appropriates the money, property or effects or any part thereof in any manner or for any other purpose than that for which they were deposited or entrusted, is guilty of embezzlement.”
Did you know? Someone who receives money or goods for a purpose without ownership transfer is known as a bailee.
There are three main elements of embezzlement that must be satisfied to be found guilty:
- The money or property must have been entrusted to someone due to a financial or fiduciary relationship.
- The money or property must have been taken or used for personal gain.
- There was an intention to defraud the rightful owner of their property or money.
Some common examples of embezzlement include:
- An employee tampers with company financial records to hide theft.
- Instead of depositing customer payments into their employer’s account, a salesperson keeps the cash.
- A financial advisor misappropriates their clients’ funds for personal gain.
- A bank teller withdraws money from a customer’s account for personal use.
- A contractor overcharges clients for services they did not perform or supplies they did not purchase.
- An executive director of a nonprofit organization diverts donations for personal use.
- A municipal worker uses taxpayer money for improper personal expenses.
Is Embezzlement Considered a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
Depending on the facts of the case, the accused’s criminal history, and the value of the embezzled goods or services, embezzlement may be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. In Nevada, embezzlement is typically charged as a misdemeanor if the value of the goods or services is under $650. Embezzlement, however, is a felony offense if the value is $650 or higher.
What Are the Penalties for Being Charged With Embezzlement?
The penalties for embezzlement in Nevada vary depending on the value of the property embezzled and whether the crime is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Here is a list of charges based on the value of the embezzled property:
- Less than $650: The individual will be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
- Between $650 and $3,500: The individual will likely be charged with a category C felony, subject to one to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
- $3,500 or more: The individual will be charged with a category B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Regardless of the charge, if someone is found guilty of embezzlement, they’ll have to make restitution to the victim. Restitution may include returning the property embezzled or paying back the value of the property.
What Defenses Are Available?
Here are several defenses that an experienced attorney can raise in an embezzlement case:
Lack of Intent To Defraud or Steal
A common defense used by defendants is that they had no intention of permanently taking the money or property entrusted to them. They cannot be found guilty of embezzlement without the necessary intent.
Good Faith Belief
If the defendant had a good faith belief that they used the property as the owner intended or did so with the owner’s consent, there is no embezzlement.
The prosecution may not have enough evidence to prove that an embezzlement crime was committed if all the elements are not sufficiently established, such as having no proof that money or property was taken and used for personal gain.
If someone is falsely accused of embezzlement as an act of revenge, jealousy, or mistaken identity, they may be able to get their charges dismissed.
Are There Any Related Offenses?
There are several offenses related to embezzlement:
- Identity theft is using someone else’s personal information to access their things or money. NRS 205.461.
- Petit larceny is the crime of stealing someone else’s personal belongings or property that has a value of less than $1,200. NRS 205.240.
- Grand larceny is the crime of stealing something from someone else that is worth $1,200. or more NRS 205.220.
- Possession of stolen property refers to the willful receipt, possession, withholding, or purchase of stolen goods with the intent to profit personally or prevent the property’s rightful owner from having them. NRS 205.275.
Contact De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers Today
With more than 12 decades of combined legal experience, the skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers are ready to represent you. Contact us today via our online contact form or call 702-996-3779 to get the help you need.
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