Individuals face embezzlement charges when they steal funds and property their employers, the federal government or other entities trust them to oversee. In Louisiana, embezzlement is a misdemeanor involving property worth less than $750 but rises to a felony or federal crime when the value exceeds that threshold.
These defense strategies may determine whether you face significant prison time, steep monetary fines, or dismissal of the charges against you.
Proof of the following is necessary for embezzlement charges to lead to your conviction:
- Your fiduciary obligation to the plaintiff
- You and the plaintiff have a relationship instrumental to your successful execution of the crime
- Your intention to steal and not return the property
- Your crime is non-violent
For example, a missing paper trail can make proving your intentions impossible and may provide sufficient grounds for dismissing the charges against you.
Although you may admit to misappropriating funds, citing duress as the reason for your actions could lead to an acquittal, under specific circumstances. This strategy requires proving that someone else participating in the embezzlement scheme threatens your job, livelihood or safety for your refusal to participate.
This defense typically applies to federal embezzlement charges. It may involve agents luring you into scenarios encouraging you to commit a crime you would otherwise not commit. Unfortunately, entrapment can be challenging to prove.
An incapacity defense is narrow in scope and cannot revolve around alcohol and drug intoxication or mental illness. However, it may tie into proving a lack of intent. For example, you might argue that the side effects of prescription medication are responsible for impairing your judgment.
Most embezzlement prosecutions happen at the state level, but misappropriation of public and bank funds can lead to federal prosecution and additional corruption charges.