Woman accused of Embezzling $1.8 Million
An Arizona woman is facing charges of embezzling nearly $1.8 million from her employer. The woman actually oversaw the former Show Low Fire District’s finances, and – according to reports – illegally issued nearly 500 checks totally $1,794,594. The checks were issued to her father and former fiancé. She was indicted by a Navajo County grand jury for 21 felony counts of theft, fraudulent schemes, computer tampering, forgery and misuse of public monies. In her role with the district, she had complete access to practically all aspects of its finances – including preparing payroll, reconciling bank statements and budgeting.
In a nutshell, embezzlement is defined as taking money or property belonging to someone else that you have been entrusted to protect. The key component is that you had legal access to the money or property but not legal ownership. The theft and violation of trust are combined into the charge of embezzlement.
Penalties for Embezzlement in Arizona
Because she is accused of embezzling more than $25,000 she is facing a class 2 felony and up to five years in jail. Of course, that’s based upon the sole embezzlement charges. The additional charges could send her to prison for quite some time. Here’s the breakdown of possible penalties for embezzlement in Arizona:
|Amount Embezzled||Time in Jail|
|Less than $1,000||6 months|
|$1,000 – $2,000||2 years|
|$2,000 – $3,000||2.5 years|
|$3,000 – $4,000||3.75 years|
|$4,000 – $25,000||8.75 years|
|Over $25,0000||12.5 years|
Possible Defenses Against Embezzlement Charges
Just as with all cases, there are effective defenses to embezzlement charges. Here are a few:
- Entrapment – Being compelled by someone else or authority figures to commit a crime you normally would not have on your own
- Absence of Intent – Embezzlement carries with it a requirement of proving intent to commit the crime. If it’s proven you thought you were the actual owner of the property or monies, the intent component cannot be applied – meaning the embezzlement charge may be dismissed.
- Duress – Actually fearing that you may be in danger if you do not commit the crime.
- Insufficient Evidence – According to statistics, 40% of federal embezzlement charges are dropped due to insufficient evidence.
Call The Oswalt Law Group if You’ve Been Charged With Embezzlement
If you’re facing embezzlement charges, there’s no doubt about it: you need the services of an attorney skilled in Arizona embezzlement law. Embezzlement can often merely be the result of a misunderstanding. Regardless of the circumstances, we urge you to contact The Oswalt Law Group ASAP by calling (602) 225-2222 for a free consultation.