Although many people associate embezzlement with the theft of millions of dollars from Fortune 500 companies it does not have to occur on such a grand-scale to be considered embezzlement. Most simply put, embezzlement occurs when a person put in a position of trust of assets converts those assets to their own personal use without the owner’s consent. Embezzlement can be as simple as a cashier pocketing money from a drawer or changing payroll numbers without the owner’s knowledge.
In Ohio, embezzlement is governed by the state’s theft laws under Ohio Revised Code Section 2913.02. The section states “No person, with purpose to deprive the owner of property or services, shall knowingly obtain or exert control over either the property or services in any of the following ways:”
- Without the consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent;
- Beyond the scope of the express or implied consent of the owner or person authorized to give consent;
- By deception;
- By threat;
- By intimidation.
In order for an embezzlement charge to be brought forth, four elements must be present:
- There must be a fiduciary relationship or reliance upon one party by another.
- The defendant must have acquired the property through said relationship.
- The defendant must have taken ownership of the property or transferred the property to some other party.
- The actions of the defendant must have been intentional.
Embezzlement penalties are bracketed based upon the value of the property or assets allegedly taken.
Less than $1,000 – Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and or $1,000 in fines.
- Between $1,000 and $7,500 – Felony of the fifth degree, punishable by 6 months to 1 year in jail and/or $2,000 in fines.
- Between $7,500 and $150,000 – Felony of the fourth degree, punishable by 6 to 18 months in prison and/or $5,000 in fines.
- Between $150,000 and $750,000 – Felony of the third degree, punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines.
- Between $750,000 and $1,500,000 – Felony of the second degree, punishable by 2 to 8 years in prison and/or $15,000 in fines.
- More than $1,500,000 – Felony of the first degree, punishable by 3 to 10 years in prison and/or $20,000 in fines.
If you or someone you know find yourself facing an embezzlement charge, a competent Ohio criminal defense attorney can help assist you and render legal advice. The practitioners at Williams, Kratcoski & Can, LLC can play a significant role in helping you contest an embezzlement or theft charge. Our experienced defense attorneys will provide you with honest advice and legal recommendations that will assist you in the event that you are charged with embezzlement.