Embezzlement is a unique form of theft crime, as it involves misappropriation by someone entrusted with property by that property’s owner. When the owner of that property is the federal government, the crime of embezzlement can get very complicated very quickly.
Even if the federal government is only connected with the property indirectly, the crime can still be treated as a federal offense with the potential for very heavy penalties. It may be wise to consult an experienced attorney who can answer questions regarding what to expect from a Washington DC embezzlement case and help protect the rights of those involved.
Many federal embezzlement cases are initiated by an investigation through the US Attorney’s Office. They will often send a letter to announce that a grand jury investigation is under way and that the recipient of the letter has been implicated as a target of the investigation. This type of letter is referred to as a “target letter.”
In many instances, the targets will be asked whether they want to cooperate with the grand jury investigation. Those who wish to cooperate by making a formal statement to the grand jury or other investigating government agency should be represented by legal counsel, either an attorney of their own choosing or one appointed by the court.
It should be noted, though, that reception of a target letter is often an indication that the investigation has proceeded far enough that the government already found evidence of guilt. As such, it is wise for anyone receiving a target letter to take appropriate precautions and receive advice from a knowledgeable embezzlement attorney before making statements or answering questions.
Instead of receiving a target letter, sometimes people learn that they are under investigation for federal embezzlement when the FBI or another federal agency arrive at their home or place of business with a search warrant. While these agents may only search and seize property without making an arrest, this type of search and seizure is typically a good indication that an arrest may be forthcoming.
The criminal statutes of the U.S. Code contain multiple provisions regarding specific types of embezzlement violations. Embezzlement may also be charged under other types of theft, fraud or other statutes.
In many cases, if the amount or property involved totals less than $1,000 in value, a person convicted of embezzling that property may be sentenced to no more than 12 months in jail. However, if the value is greater than $1,000, the sentence could be as long as 10 years, or even longer for those in certain positions such as bank employees.
Fines will also vary based on circumstances. The general guidelines provide for fines of up to $100,000 for misdemeanor embezzlement and up to $250,000 for felony embezzlement.
Embezzlement is an extremely serious matter in Washington DC. The federal government will generally put sizeable resources into prosecuting such a case and will search tirelessly for justification to back up their suspicions.
As such, anyone who may be the target of an embezzlement investigation should strongly consider securing legal representation to protect their rights and their future. For more information about what you should expect from a Washington Dc embezzlement case, contact a qualified criminal defense lawyer today.