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Answering the question of intent

Many in New York may view the question of you being accused of criminal activity as one that is fairly cut-and-dry: either you did commit an offense, or you did not. However, such a simplification does not always apply (particularly in cases involving perceived "white collar crimes" such as embezzlement). Many come to us here at Sapone and Petrillo, LLP having been accused of such a crime wondering how they landed in such a situation. After all, if your actions in managing another's property were genuine, how can you then be accused of a crime of this magnitude?

It all may come down to a question of intent. In defining "embezzlement," the U.S Department of Justice states that an intent on your part to deprive another of the benefits or use of his or her property musy be proven along with you converting or appropriating said property for own benefit. Say that a friend entrusted you with the management of some of his or her assets (with the supposed understanding that you would assume ownership of them after a certain time or certain conditions were met). It might be difficult proving that you intended to embezzle said assets if such an understanding was indeed in place. 

You should know, however, that the DOJ does not differentiate between an intent to deprive one of property permanently or temporarily. Thus, if you utilized another's assets (that were under your management) for your own purposes with the intent of eventually paying him or her back, you may still be found criminally culpable for embezzlement. You can learn more about the legal definition of embezzlement by continuing to explore our site. 

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