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Impact of Harm in DC Federal Embezzlement Sentencing

Usually, the more harm experienced as a result of the embezzlement, the higher the guideline range is for the defendant in that case. This is true with respect to victims that were substantially harmed by the embezzlement. This is also true when the harm resulted in the loss of life or physical harm in some way. The harm is considered greater if a public service has been defrauded or embezzled. Generally, the impact of harm in DC federal embezzlement sentencing, is that the more harm identified in a case, the higher the sentencing guideline range is in that case. A DC federal embezzlement lawyer can help navigate the sentencing guidelines in a federal embezzlement case.

Degrees of Harm in Embezzlement Cases

The degree of harm in embezzlement cases is determined by the dollar value of the harm; the higher the dollar value of harm felt, the higher the likely sentence a defendant faces. If it is a lower dollar amount, the sentence is often lower.  Personal gain or lack thereof is often not relevant to guideline calculations.

Pecuniary Harm

Pecuniary harm is harm that is monetary or is readily measurable in money. Accordingly, pecuniary harm does not include emotional distress, harm to reputation, or other non-economic harm.

Reasonably foreseeable pecuniary harm is pecuniary harm that the defendant knew, or under the circumstances, reasonably should have known was a potential result of the offense. It is pecuniary harm which is the actual economic loss felt by the person, but it is limited by what is reasonably foreseeable. A defendant is not responsible for all of the harm that is eventually felt by a victim if it is not reasonably foreseeable.

Impact on Sentencing

The other options a judge might consider include gain to the defendant, exclusions from loss, and credits against loss. For example, if there was a situation where some of the money was already paid back to the victim before the case was brought forward, the judge would lower the applicable guideline range because it would lower the loss amount. There are also certain credits and things that are excluded such as finance charges, late fees, penalties, interest rates, and things of that nature. They are not included in the loss amount. The judge takes all of that into consideration before determining the loss amount that should apply in a particular case.

Importance of An Attorney

When one faces a federal criminal offense, the stakes are often quite high. Even in a case with a low loss amount, prison is a reality. Someone facing a criminal offense should never take that situation lightly and should make sure that they have a lawyer who knows the federal sentencing guidelines and can advocate on their behalf to further mitigate the losses and to ensure that the prosecutor does not overstate the aggravating facts in a case.

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