Perhaps you made a serious error involving property or money belonging to your employer or a charity where you volunteer. These situations are more common than people think in and around Chester County, and if charges are filed it can feel like your life is over.

But don’t give up. There are options to reduce the penalties for embezzlement, so you don’t have to resign yourself to the worst possible outcome. While you are facing a serious legal matter, talk to an experienced white collar criminal defense lawyer at Skinner Law Firm.

We’ll help resolve your legal trouble so you can get your life back on track. Contact attorney Michael Skinner today at (610) 436-1410 to discuss your embezzlement case. This consultation is free and confidential.

What is Embezzlement in PA?

In Pennsylvania, there isn’t a state law called “embezzlement.” The term is a catch-all for theft offenses committed by someone trusted with money, property, or other things of value. Typically, it is used when an employee commits theft at work or when a volunteer steals from a charity organization.

How Serious is Embezzlement?

Your theft-related charges depend on the amount embezzled. If the amount is more than $2,000, you’re going to face a felony. Your penalties can also be affected if you were in a fiduciary (person of trust) position.

Possible penalties for embezzlement charges are:

  • Summary Offense: up to 90 days in jail / $300 fine
  • Third Degree Misdemeanor: up to one year in jail / $2,500 fine
  • Second Degree Misdemeanor: up to two years in jail / $5,000 fine
  • First Degree Misdemeanor: up to five years in jail / $10,000 fine
  • Third Degree Felony: up to seven years in prison / $15,000 fine
  • Second Degree Felony: up to 10 years in prison / $25,000 fine

Beyond the legal penalties, a conviction for embezzlement has collateral consequences. Your reputation in the community may be harmed and you may not be eligible for future employment, especially where money is concerned. If you hold a professional license, you may be required to disclose the offense and face administrative discipline.

Embezzlement Defenses & Reducing Penalties

The good news is that you may have defenses that can result in the embezzlement charges being dropped or reduced. This can lessen your penalties or spare you from them altogether. Potential defenses include:

  • No intent – depending on the facts of your case, it’s possible you lacked the necessary intent to be convicted
  • Statute of limitations expired – our white-collar defense attorneys can carefully review whether it might be too late to bring charges
  • Good faith belief – you believed you had a right to the property
  • Entrapment – someone set you up by encouraging you to steal

Mitigation of Embezzlement

When it comes to theft of money, often the victim is focused less on punishment and more on restitution. This can be helpful in an embezzlement case.

Not only can an attorney identify possible defenses to weaken the prosecution’s case, but your lawyer can also work on a deal that calls for lesser penalties if the money or property is returned. There’s even a possibility of setting up a payment plan and receiving just a period of probation.

If your professional license is in jeopardy, your lawyer can work with you to resolve that too. Often if it’s a first offense, or there are mitigating circumstances like drug or alcohol abuse, a gambling habit, or mental illness, your professional board may take those under consideration along with your willingness to get the help you need and make the victims whole.

Embezzlement Charge? Call a Chester County Defense Attorney

Legal trouble is a serious matter and if you are facing embezzlement charges you need a white-collar criminal defense attorney who understands the law and the possible ways to mitigate the penalties. At Skinner Law Firm, we know how to help you resolve your case and start putting your life back together. And if you’ve been falsely accused, we’ll fight to have the charges dropped and your name cleared.

If you are dealing with a white-collar charge in Chester County, call us at (610) 436-1410 for a free, confidential consultation.

Article Author

Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

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