In Florida, embezzlement is prosecuted as a theft crime under Florida Statute 812. If you’re accused of this offense, here is what you need to know.
What is embezzlement in Florida?
Embezzlement is one of the white-collar crimes in Florida that involves the unlawful taking of property by a person entrusted with it. The crime can be committed in several ways but typically involves someone in a position of authority taking money or property for their personal use.
Elements of embezzlement in Florida
- The defendant was entrusted with property or money: The prosecutor must show that the defendant was responsible for the property or money in question.
- The defendant unlawfully and intentionally took the property or money: The defendant must have intentionally taken the property or money without permission.
- The defendant deprived the owner of the use or benefit of the property or money: The prosecutor will prove this element by showing that the defendant took a significant amount of money or property, and through their actions, the plaintiff suffered in one way or another.
Florida laws and penalties
If the value of the property or money embezzled is $100,000 or more, the crime is classified as a first-degree felony. This is the most serious type of felony in Florida and is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
This charge occurs when the property’s value or money embezzled is between $20,000 and $99,999. It is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
This occurs when the value of the property or money embezzled is less than $20,000. The court could punish the people facing this charge for up to five years in prison.
If you are facing embezzlement charges, it’s important to mount a defense to avoid the consequences of a conviction. This is because penalties go beyond jail terms and fines; a charge can also affect other areas of your life like employment and your rights as a citizen.