A white-collar crime in West Palm Beach, Florida, refers to typically nonviolent financial schemes. Embezzlement is an example of white-collar crime involving theft, differing from robbery and burglary.
Overview of embezzlement laws in Florida
Embezzlement as a white-collar offense includes the taking of property entrusted to the offender. This differs from robbery and burglary where the offender doesn't have permission to use the property and may use force.
They have legal authorization but misuse the stolen goods or funds for another purpose other than they were intended. Embezzlement does not require prosecution to prove the defendant had the property but that they had a fiduciary responsibility.
Florida prosecutes embezzlement as grand theft if property values are $300 to $100,000 in varying degrees, from first to third. Property crimes that do not meet the legal definition of a felony embezzlement or theft are charged as petit theft.
Types of embezzlement
A common way someone commits embezzlement is cash skimming, or an employee pocketing cash from customers and reporting a different amount. Embezzlers usually take small amounts of goods or cash at a time to avoid detection, but they may take a large amount and disappear. Lapping is when the employee attempts to hide the theft by altering records or receipts, which is often hard to catch.
Ponzi schemes are another embezzlement scheme, which involves promising investors high returns at little risk for a small investment. The investor's profit comes from new recruits, making the investment seem to pay off.
An embezzlement charge commonly carries a prison terms and fines up to around $10,000, depending on type of offense. However, the accused party may use various defenses to defend against the charges.