As someone working in New York, you've likely heard of pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes before. Sometimes, they're lumped together. Other times, people call Ponzi schemes a "type" of pyramid scheme. But is that actually accurate? While these two types of schemes are similar in many ways, they also have a number of fundamental differences.
Most in New York hear the word "embezzlement" and picture someone relaxing on the deck of a lavish home in some tropic paradise that was completely paid for by the company's dime. At least that is the assumption that many had prior to coming to us here at Sapone & Petrillo, LLP after having been accused of embezzlement themselves. In theory, any misappropriation of company funds that is linked to you could qualify as embezzlement. How, then, are you to protect yourself from such a charge?
When people in New York hear or read stories about financial professionals being accused of illegally or unethically obtaining or using company funds, they may automatically assume the person is guilty or has little to no option to defend themselves. That is certainly untrue as the justice and legal system is set up to allow all defendants the right to prove their innocence. Sometimes, charges can come to be dropped in what may seem to some by unusual circumstances.
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?
The consequences of being charged with embezzlement may disrupt a person's life in many ways. Aside from steep financial penalties and time behind bars, someone facing these allegations may have their life turned upside down by many other problems as well. For example, they could find themselves out of work or they may be unable to secure a job in a particular field in the future because of these charges. If you have been accused of embezzlement, it is important to defend yourself properly in order to protect your professional reputation. Unfortunately, even people who have been falsely accused of this offense have suffered irreparable damage to their career.
When New York residents want to invest their money, they typically trust financial professionals to guide them through the process. Sometimes, though, someone may embezzle money instead of investing it. It is important for people to recognize different kinds of investment fraud and understand how they can protect themselves.
Contrary to what many New Yorkers might believe, Ponzi schemes can involve more than inexperienced investors and greedy schemers. Many of these cases are complex and easily overlooked; what can seem a wise financial step can become a disaster overnight. More recently, a different angle of this crime has reached the spotlight: that of cryptocurrencies.
Whenever you have been tasked with handling a company's financial transactions, you essentially hold its spending power in the palms of your hands. With that authority comes a good deal of scrutiny, particularly over the companies and vendors in New York City that you work with. Several of the past clients that we here at Sapone & Petrillo, LLP have worked with have seen the nature of their vendor relationships cause others to accuse them of embezzlement. Why would your work with your company's vendors potentially lead to criminal accusations?
If you are a resident of New York who is involved in business investments you know that many people find complex financial transactions to be confusing. In some situations, it may well be a person's lack of understanding that makes them believe that something may in fact be fraudulent. There are certain things that are identified as hallmarks of Ponzi schemes, a certain type of investment fraud. Knowing what these are is important for you so you can make wise choices with your own investment programs.
There may a common line of thinking out there amongst many in New York that the penalties that accompany white collar crimes are light. This assumption may be fed by the stories that many may have heard perpetuated about cushy federal prisons that make the experience of incarceration seem like more of an extended vacation. In reality, an embezzlement charge can result in very harsh consequences, especially given that many of such cases involve the alleged theft or misappropriation of huge sums of money. As is the case in many criminal actions, the higher the amount that is supposedly stolen, the greater the penalty one may face.