People who are put in positions of trust over a company's assets are expected to behave in an ethical manner. This includes everyone from cashiers at a grocery store to executives who handle multi-million-dollar accounts for clients. It is imperative that these individuals handle the money in a suitable manner.
There are times when mistakes are made. These may be misconstrued as a criminal act, which can lead to criminal charges. If you are facing accusations of embezzlement, there are a few things you need to know.
Not only money
Most commonly, money is the asset that a person is given possession of. However, this isn't the only one. It is possible to misuse property like laptops or other items given to someone to use for company business. It is imperative that anyone who is given control over company assets understand how those are supposed to be used, as well as any other information you need to ensure you are using these appropriately.
There are four factors that have to be present if a person is going to be charged with embezzlement. These include:
- The actions of the person must be intentional.
- The property must have been provided through a fiduciary relationship.
- The person and the legal property owner must have had an established fiduciary relationship.
- The person must have taken ownership of the property or provided the property to someone else without the legal owner's permission.
There are many different situations that can lead to embezzlement charges. These include Ponzi schemes, false payroll records and fraudulent billing practices. In some instances, the cases have to do with large sums of money being taken in a short amount of time. It is more common to have small amounts of money taken over a longer period.
The criminal case
Individuals who are facing these charges should make sure they understand the specific points in the law that apply to their cases. This isn't always easy because many cases involve complex circumstances. It is best to start looking into the matter as early as possible.
There are cases in which a person might know that they are being investigated prior to any prosecutorial action being taken. It is best to look into your legal options as soon as you know something is going on.