Embezzlement (ARS 13-1802)

Facing Embezzlement Charges in Phoenix, Arizona? Call an Embezzlement Lawyer Today for Help!


Embezzlement Defined

As outlined in Arizona Revised Statute 13-1802, titled “Fraudulent Misrepresentation” (commonly referred to as Embezzlement), this offense is committed under the following conditions:

  1. When an individual is granted lawful and authorized access,
  2. To money or property,
  3. Without possessing complete ownership, and
  4. Upon being entrusted to oversee, administer, or safeguard said property, they instead employ it for personal benefit.

Common Examples of Embezzlement

Embezzlement frequently involves deceptive financial practices, such as counterfeit methods. These may encompass issuing “Fake Vendor” payments, expense reimbursement claims that incorporate personal or quasi-personal expenses, and modifying Profit and Loss statements or Balance Sheets. This kind of behavior is often observed among professionals like accountants, bookkeepers, bank tellers, lawyers, and board members.

The most basic forms of embezzlement usually revolve around individuals who have control over financial instruments like checkbooks or credit cards. For instance:

  1. A check written directly to the check writer or a family member.
  2. A check made out to a legitimate vendor, then endorsed on the reverse side with the words “Pay to the Order Of,” accompanied by the name of the check writer or family member.
  3. A check issued to a fictitious vendor, established by the employee (e.g., a fabricated company featuring a bank account).
  4. Writing small, recurring checks for seemingly routine expenses, which tend to go unnoticed (“under the radar”).

The Difference Between Felony Embezzlement and Misdemeanor Embezzlement

The distinction between felony embezzlement and misdemeanor embezzlement lies primarily in the severity of the offense and the potential legal consequences. Felony embezzlement involves more substantial misappropriation of funds or property and is generally accompanied by more severe penalties. The threshold for felony embezzlement often hinges on the monetary value of the misappropriated assets. For instance, in many jurisdictions, embezzlement exceeding a certain dollar amount may be categorized as a felony. Felony embezzlement convictions can lead to longer prison sentences, larger fines, and a lasting mark on one’s criminal record, potentially affecting employment opportunities and personal reputation.

Conversely, misdemeanor embezzlement typically involves smaller amounts of misappropriated property or funds. While still a serious offense, misdemeanor embezzlement is generally associated with lesser penalties compared to its felony counterpart. These penalties may include shorter jail sentences or probation, as well as reduced fines. The distinction between felony and misdemeanor embezzlement emphasizes the importance of seeking skilled legal counsel. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help navigate the complexities of embezzlement charges, build an effective defense strategy, and strive for the best possible outcome, whether it involves reducing the charges or minimizing the associated penalties.

Possible Penalties for Embezzlement

  1. Class 6 Felony: In cases where the embezzlement involves an amount between $1,000 and $2,000, it can be classified as a Class 6 felony. Conviction under this category can result in a potential prison term ranging from 4 months to 2 years in the Department of Corrections (DOC). Additionally, fines and restitution may be imposed as part of the sentence.
  2. Class 5 Felony: When the embezzlement amount falls within the range of $2,000 to $3,000, it constitutes a Class 5 felony. The possible punishment for this offense can lead to a prison sentence ranging from 6 months to 2.5 years in the DOC. Fines and restitution may also be imposed by the court.
  3. Class 4 Felony: Embezzlement involving an amount between $3,000 and $4,000 is classified as a Class 4 felony. If convicted under this category, individuals may face a potential prison term of 1 to 3.75 years in the DOC, accompanied by fines and restitution.
  4. Class 3 Felony: In cases where the misappropriation ranges from $4,000 to $25,000, it constitutes a Class 3 felony. Those convicted could potentially be sentenced to serve 2 to 8.75 years in the DOC, along with required fines and restitution as determined by the court.
  5. Class 2 Felony: Embezzlement exceeding $25,000 is considered a Class 2 felony, the most severe category on this list. Conviction under this classification can result in a prison term ranging from 3 to 12.5 years in the DOC. The court may also impose fines and order restitution to compensate for the financial losses incurred.
  6. Probation with Jail Time: If the embezzlement amount is below $100,000, it’s possible to receive probation with jail time instead of serving in prison. Jail time can vary from zero days up to one full year, depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the judge’s discretion.
  7. Statutory Sentence Enhancement: In cases involving an embezzlement amount of $100,000 or greater, a statutory sentence enhancement may come into play. This enhancement mandates the imposition of prison time rather than probation with jail time. While negotiations can sometimes lead to dropping this enhancement, it’s important to address this possibility with your defense attorney.

Understanding the potential punishments associated with embezzlement charges emphasizes the importance of seeking skilled legal representation. A qualified criminal defense attorney such as the team at DM Cantor can thoroughly assess the details of your case, devise a tailored defense strategy, and work towards minimizing the potential penalties you may face.

Common Defenses for Embezzlement

When facing embezzlement charges in Phoenix, Arizona, it’s crucial to have a skilled Phoenix Embezzlement Attorney by your side to navigate the complexities of the legal system. A knowledgeable attorney can employ various defense strategies tailored to your unique situation to help you secure the best possible outcome.

  1. Lack of Intent: A skilled Phoenix Embezzlement Attorney might argue that you had no intention of misappropriating funds or property. Establishing that your actions lacked criminal intent can cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.
  2. Mistaken Identity: Your attorney might assert that you were wrongly identified as the perpetrator of the embezzlement. Challenging the accuracy of the identification can create reasonable doubt about your involvement.
  3. Insufficient Evidence: If the prosecution’s evidence is weak or lacks concrete proof of your involvement in the embezzlement, your lawyer can challenge the case’s foundation and seek a dismissal.
  4. Duress or Coercion: Your attorney may argue that you were forced or coerced into committing the embezzlement, which can mitigate your level of culpability.
  5. Alibi: A solid alibi corroborated by witnesses or evidence can establish that you were not present at the location of the embezzlement when it occurred.
  6. Good Faith Belief: Your attorney might contend that you genuinely believed your actions were legal or were acting in accordance with company policies, negating any criminal intent.
  7. Voluntary Intoxication: If your ability to form criminal intent was impaired due to involuntary intoxication, your lawyer could present evidence of this to reduce your culpability.
  8. Entrapment: Your Phoenix Embezzlement Attorney could argue that law enforcement induced you to commit embezzlement that you would not have committed otherwise.

Navigating embezzlement charges demands the expertise of a skilled Phoenix Embezzlement Attorney who can analyze the evidence, build a robust defense, and protect your rights, ensuring the best possible outcome for your case.

Board Certified Criminal Law Specialization

As of the start of 2023, the State Bar of Arizona Board of Legal Specialization listed only 56 Criminal Law Specialists in the entire state.  Of these 56, only 39 are located in Maricopa County and are allowed to handle private cases.

DM Cantor has 3 Criminal Law Specialists, the most of any firm in Arizona.  When defending Embezzlement allegations, it is critical to have as many Specialists on your legal team as is possible.

The specialization process is so rigorous that only 23 current Criminal Law Specialists were certified in the last 20 years.  In addition, all specialists must be approved for re-certification every 5 years.

At DM Cantor, our Specialists have conducted Jury Trials on countless Embezzlement crime cases.

Every case defended by DM Cantor includes at least 1 Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist on the legal team who is directly handling or supervising the case’s progress.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Why Hire a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist?

State Bar of Arizona Certified DUI Specialists DM Cantor

Engaging the services of a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist is paramount when facing allegations of embezzlement, a serious white-collar crime that falls under theft-related offenses. The intricacies of embezzlement laws in Arizona demand a level of expertise that extends beyond general criminal defense knowledge. A Board Certified Specialist possesses an in-depth understanding of the nuances of the Arizona embezzlement statute, enabling them to meticulously dissect the elements of the crime, assess the evidence, and craft a tailored defense strategy. In the realm of white-collar crimes like embezzlement, a specialist’s proficiency can be the key to navigating the complexities of the legal landscape effectively.

Embezzlement accusations can have far-reaching consequences, jeopardizing your reputation, career, and future prospects. By entrusting your case to a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist, such as those found at the DM Cantor law firm, you benefit from their extensive experience in handling cases of embezzlement and related crimes. Their specialized knowledge equips them to address the intricacies of financial transactions, corporate protocols, and legal regulations that pertain to embezzlement. By engaging a specialist, you are not only safeguarding your rights but also positioning yourself for a more favorable resolution to the charges, minimizing the potential impact on your life and future endeavors.

Contact a Phoenix Embezzlement Lawyer

For a free initial consultation, call our Arizona Law Firm at 602-307-0808 , or click here to contact us now .


Call Now Button