Do I Need to Hire My Own Attorney to Fight Embezzlement Charges?
When you hear the term embezzlement, you may think of an offense that only applies to high-powered corporate executives and stockbrokers on Wall Street. While it is considered a white collar crime, this particular form of misconduct is far more complicated than typical fraud charges. Plus, because of its unique characteristics, you can run into issues with obtaining legal representation. Generally speaking, the corporate counsel you rely upon for business matters is NOT in a position to defend you if you’ve been charged under Florida’s criminal statute on embezzlement.
If convicted, you could face incarceration, fines, and other penalties – and you could even find yourself a defendant in a civil suit. As such, it’s important to retain a Florida white collar crimes lawyer who focuses on embezzlement cases. Some background information and advice on how to find the right attorney may be helpful.
Embezzlement Overview: As a form of fraud, embezzlement involves taking something that doesn’t belong to you under false pretenses. However, the difference is that you did have – at least some point in time – lawful possession of the property you misappropriate. A common example is taking possession of cash, with instructions to deposit into the bank. You’re authorized to have control over the money for purposes of the deposit, so you could be charged with embezzlement if you use if for your ow purposes afterwards.
Attorney Conflicts of Interest: Many company executives trust their corporate counsel with legal matters, but you won’t be able to use the business lawyer to defend you in an embezzlement case. The reason is that this person represents the company – NOT you. In fact, the company’s attorney is actually in the position to press charges against you, since the entity is his or her client.
What to Look for When Retaining Legal Counsel: As a white collar crime, a case involving embezzlement allegations is highly complex. Therefore, you need to work with a criminal defense attorney that has a very specific set of legal skills and attributes. For instance:
- You should seek out a lawyer that focuses on criminal defense in general;
- Your attorney should have considerable experience representing individuals accused of white collar crimes; and,
- Your legal counsel must have access to resources that can investigate technical details from a forensics standpoint. The example referenced above is a highly simplified version of how embezzlement cases work. A real-life situation will not be as simple as showing you took cash for yourself instead of depositing it.
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Florida White Collar Crimes Defense Lawyer
If you’ve been arrested on embezzlement charges or believe that an indictment may be forthcoming, it’s important to retain legal counsel at the earliest possible opportunity. You do have rights, even during the pre-arrest, investigative stages of a criminal case. For more information about our legal services in defending white collar crimes, please contact Fort Lauderdale white collar crime attorney Kevin J. Kulik to set up a consultation at our office. We can get started on a legal strategy right away after reviewing the details of your case.