A Fullerton woman was found guilty of embezzling more than $370,000 from her employer, a real estate company located in Anaheim, CA.
After a bench trial (trial by judge, as opposed to a trial by jury), the woman was convicted of multiple felonies in relation to the alleged embezzlement. She was found guilty of grand theft, filing a false tax return and filing a false statement and faces sentencing enhancements for property loss and aggravated white-collar crime, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors alleged that the defendant stole more than $370,000 from her employer by collecting bonuses on 100 homes when the company only closed escrow on 27 homes. She was accused of creating false entries in the company's check ledger and of paying herself sales agent commissions and closing bonuses. These alleged criminal acts took place between 2004 and 2010.
The sentencing hearing is set for April 18. The defendant faces a maximum of 13 years in prison.
White-collar crime cases such as the one discussed above present their own set of complex issues that must be addressed to build a successful defense. With embezzlement in particular, prosecutors will look for a paper trail that connects the defendant with the alleged crime. Working with law enforcement, they may conduct ongoing investigations to try to collect evidence against the suspect, sometimes without the suspect's knowledge. They may use investigators and specialists in computer forensics and accounting to build their cases.
Embezzlement charges may be filed under California Penal Code 503. Under this section, embezzlement may be described as taking something which has been entrusted to you. Embezzlement charges can threaten a person's employment and reputation. The social stigma - and possible prison time - associated with these charges makes mounting an immediate and aggressive defense of the utmost importance.
Challenging Embezzlement Charges
An accusation or even formal criminal charges for embezzlement do not necessarily have to equal a conviction. A skilled criminal defense attorney can consider any possible defenses based on the specific factors that the prosecution must prove to seek a guilty verdict. The prosecution must prove, beyond all doubt, that:
- The defendant had a relationship of trust with the victim;
- The defendant was entrusted with property or assets due to that relationship; and
- The defendant intentionally deprived the victim of said property by taking it and using it for his or her own benefit.
A thorough review of all evidence, witness testimony, documents, and records may reveal that the property was not taken but was simply misplaced. Or, an investigation may show that the defendant was entirely unaware of the incident and that another party was to blame, or that this all originated from a simple misunderstanding. It is your attorney's job to find any possible defense against your charges, no matter how seemingly small.
If you want to find out more about embezzlement and other white-collar crimes, and your rights if you have been accused of or arrested for such an offense, call the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman. We represent clients throughout Orange County and offer aggressive, experienced defense representation in the face of the most complex white-collar crimes. We also take on cases involving violent crimes, DUI, domestic violence, drug crimes and more. When your freedom is at stake, you deserve to have an attorney who will fight tooth and nail to seek the best possible result. That is the level of counsel our clients receive. Call today!