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Impact of Harm on Federal Sentencing in Maryland Embezzlement Cases

The extent of harm to a victim is considered by the judges during sentencing. Embezzling $100,000 from a national bank will not harm the bank irreparably or be the catalyst for the business shutting down. However, embezzling the same amount from a small business owner could result in the owner losing their business. When individuals, such as small business owners, work with small profit margins, they cannot afford those type of losses, while those same losses would not impact the operations for a larger company. Judges will issue harsher sentences to someone that has caused harm to a small business owner because of the different mindset in stealing or embezzling from a small business.

Pecuniary harm is the loss of money. Reasonably foreseeable pecuniary harm is financial losses that can be anticipated by the person embezzling. If a person embezzles from a client, the pecuniary harm is the actual losses that the client sustained; the reasonably foreseeable pecuniary harm is the loss of that client’s business and the company’s reputation if the embezzlement is discovered.

Potential Penalties

Embezzlement, regardless of the amount, is severe enough that it will require a one-year mandatory minimum sentence. Even a suspended sentence is a conviction for a crime that would result in a criminal record and potentially probation, which may include supervised probation, at best. At worst, the defendant could go to jail. Regardless of how much money was taken, the person needs an experienced Maryland embezzlement attorney that knows the territory and could help the defendant get a favorable result.

Determining the Degree of Harm

Primarily, the degree of harm is determined by the amount that was taken. Whether it happened once or constituted a course of conduct also determines the degree of harm. Finally, the type and characteristics of the victim determine the degree of harm in embezzlement cases.

Besides harm, judges will consider the full history of the defendant during sentencing. Factors that are unrelated to the incident or the harm to the victim, such as whether the individual worked honestly for many years, but got into financial trouble and/or whether the individual is an addict, could impact sentencing. The judge will also look at the individual’s criminal history, which could ultimately impact sentencing as well.