Taking money or property that doesn’t belong to you and using it for your own gain, with no intent of giving it back, is generally considered a theft crime in the state of Ohio. Embezzlement is similar to other crimes of theft and/or larceny, but differs in that it typically occurs when one party has legal access to someone else’s money or property for management purposes, but ends up illegally diverting funds or otherwise using the other party’s money for themselves without permission. With other crimes of theft, the offending party generally does not have legal access to the other party’s money or property.
In other words, embezzlement essentially requires a violation of trust. An embezzler is typically someone who was trusted to manage or protect someone else’s assets, but chose to violate their duties and take the money for themselves.
In the state of Ohio, embezzlement in considered a serious theft crime and penalties will depend on a variety of factors, such as the amount of money taken or the value of the stolen goods. For instance, if the stolen goods are worth less than $1,000, the offending party may face misdemeanor charges, six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. However, many embezzlement cases involve complex schemes that result in the theft of millions of dollars. In cases where the value of the stolen goods and/or money is over $1,500,000, the offender may face first degree felony charges, up to 11 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.
Courts will also consider the status of the victim and the type of items embezzled. For example, committing a crime of embezzlement against an elderly person over the age of 65 or someone who is physically or mentally disabled, will often result in a more serious penalty than other embezzlement crimes. Embezzling firearms or other items with dangerous propensities will also result in more severe consequences.
Anyone accused of embezzlement will need a solid defense strategy to protect their rights in court. A criminal defense attorney can review your case and help come up with the most effective strategy for you.