The Arizona Embezzlement Statute
How much money must be embezzled for the crime to be considered a felony? The Arizona embezzlement statute tells us the charges given for different ranges of embezzlement. Embezzling over a thousand dollars is a Class 6 felony in Arizona, and the higher the amount, the higher the penalty.
Many people can confuse fraud or larceny with embezzlement; however, all of these are separate crimes, and the distinction matters a lot in court. Larceny refers to property theft, and fraud refers to intentional deception in order to take something of value from another. To help you gain a better understanding, let’s go over some embezzlement examples.
Cornell Law School defines embezzlement as the “fraudulent taking of personal property by someone to whom it was entrusted.” This definition seems a bit hazy because embezzlement can apply to many, very different situations. Most often embezzlement cases revolve around illegally taking money from an employer, a company, or a customer.
Examples of embezzlement include:
- Altering a company’s account books to cover up lost funds
- Charging a customer more than an item is worth and keeping the difference
- Adding hours to a time record that were not worked
- Accepting bribes
- Transferring funds from a client account to a personal or third party account
- Selling property held in a trust and not distributing the proceeds appropriately to the beneficiaries while secretly setting aside some of the money
What the Arizona Embezzlement Statute Tells Us
Many would assume that misappropriating company funds in small amounts would not result in serious penalties. However, the more valuable the assets were that were stolen, the higher the felony charge will be. Arizona Statute 13-1802 gives us a breakdown on how a person would be charged if they committed financial fraud.
Embezzling assets over one thousand dollars qualifies as a Class 6 felony in Arizona. This is the least severe class of felony. Conviction of a Class 6 felony brings fines, probation, and a prison sentence anywhere from a few months to over five years. A Class 2 felony is the most serious charge related to embezzlement—this charge is given in cases where services or property worth $25,000 or more were taken. Those found guilty could serve over twelve years in prison.
Embezzlement Defense Attorney in Phoenix, AZ
With the right attorney, it is possible to fight an embezzlement charge. In some cases, a lack of fiduciary duty can be used as a defense. In other cases, there may simply be insufficient evidence for an embezzlement felony charge to hold. Lack of intent (or entrapment) has been found in complicated embezzlement cases, as well. However, these fine details can not be brought to light without a strong defense team.
Todd Coolidge has a proven record of success in convincing the court to reduce or drop felony charges in Arizona. If you are facing embezzlement charges in the Phoenix, Chandler, or Metro area, you can secure the help of Coolidge Law Firm for your criminal case. Call our offices to begin the process today.