Embezzlement is a white-collar crime that involves someone using the trust of their employer and the authority of their position to steal. Most people associate embezzlement with accountants moving money into their own pockets or white-collar workers trying to use their business expense account for personal purchasing.
However, embezzlement can also involve the theft of physical possessions. Nurses, home health aides, pharmacy technicians and other medical professionals might wind up accused of embezzlement if they take medications in order to meet the needs of an opioid or opiate addiction.
Missing medication often won’t go unnoticed for long
Whether you work directly in someone’s home, in a long-term care facility with multiple residents or in a pharmaceutical setting, there are likely accounting systems in place intended to track the use of high-risk medications, including opioid-based painkillers.
Although mistakes happen and people can drop or destroy pills, when reviewers begin to notice multiple pills missing at once, you could find yourself under suspicion or even stopped by security when you have medication on your person after a shift.
In some cases, an employer will simply terminate a worker who has appropriated medication. Other times, in order to protect their reputation or prevent liability issues, the company may press charges.
Those accused of medication-related embezzlement have the right to a defense
As is true for anyone who is accused of a crime, medical professionals accused of taking medication from others for their personal use have the right to defend themselves.
In some cases, challenging the way that an employer gathered evidence could exclude that evidence in a criminal trial. Different tactics may work better depending on the circumstances, which is why getting good legal advice after an arrest is very important for those facing embezzlement or drug-related criminal charges.