Fraud & Embezzlement Experience You Can Count On

Orange County Fraud & Embezzlement Defense

Defending Against Fraud & Embezzlement Charges

Have you been arrested and charged, or are under investigation, for a crime of fraud or embezzlement? If so, you know that you are facing very serious consequences, and should immediately retain the assistance of an experienced and trustworthy Laguna Hills attorney to handle your case. At the Alan Castillo - Attorney at Law, my firm has been dealing with these types of cases for more than two decades, and is well-prepared to defend you. Contact me online today to learn more.

What Is Fraud & Embezzlement?

Fraud occurs when one individual deliberately deceives another in order to damage them, such as illegally obtaining their property or services. Embezzlement involves the theft or larceny of assets by an individual who has been placed in a position of trust over them. Fraud and embezzlement are often referred to as "white collar crimes," which refer to financially motivated offenses that are less-visible to the public at large.

However, they are still considered crimes of theft, and finding yourself charged with one is an extremely serious situation. You could be looking at the possibility of jail or prison time, fines, the loss of any professional licenses you may have, and a major blow to your professional reputation and career.

Common Types of Fraud & Embezzlement Offenses

Have you been charged with one of the following?

  • Tax evasion - Tax evasion can either be nonpayment or underpayment of tax. Tax avoidance is not considered fraud, but tax evasion is. (Tax avoidance is a misrepresentation of financial affairs).
  • Credit card fraud - Common types of credit card fraud include credit card application fraud, account takeover, credit card skimming, card-not-present (CNP) fraud, and taking advantage of lost cards.
  • Check fraud - Check fraud comes in many forms, such as cashing counterfeit checks, forgery, theft, writing checks on closed accounts (paper hanging) and removing check information (washing).
  • Insurance fraud - There is a wide variety of insurance fraud, but it all boils down to trying to receive improper payment from an insurer. This can mean anything from faking hail damage to a roof to falsifying the date or details of an accident.
  • Securities fraud - Securities fraud is also known as stock or investment fraud. Insider trading is one example.
  • Telemarketing fraud - Telemarketing scams may involve investment opportunities, prizes, free vacations, or foreign lotteries.
  • Mail fraud - Mail fraud occurs when mail is used to execute a fraudulent activity.
  • Wire fraud - Wire fraud is the electronic version of mail fraud.
  • Identity theft - There are many types of identity theft. The classifications are financial, medical, criminal, synthetic, and child identity theft.
  • Embezzlement - Embezzlement occurs when you are trusted to handle funds but take them as your own instead. The most common form is pocketing small amounts of cash over time, known as “cash skimming”.

Is Embezzlement a Felony or Misdemeanor?

Since embezzlement is a crime of theft it can be charged both as a felony or as a misdemeanor. Which crime you will be charged with comes down to how much money was allegedly taken. Generally, an embezzlement crime is considered a misdemeanor if the value of the money taken was less than $100. Punishments for this crime can include a fine up to $1,000 and/or up to a year in jail.

Embezzlement crimes where more than $100 was taken are considered felony crimes. Like all felony charges, the punishments for this crime are considerably more severe and can include a fine up to $50,000 or up to three times the amount value taken (whichever is higher) and/or up to 20 years in prison.

When Does Embezzlement Become a Federal Offense?

In general, embezzlement becomes a federal crime when it involves federal funds or property, or when it crosses state lines.

  • For example, if an employee of a federally-funded organization embezzles funds, or if a public official embezzles federal grant money, then the crime is likely to be considered a federal offense.

However, if the embezzlement only involves state funds or property and does not cross state lines, then it would typically be considered a state crime. Ultimately, whether embezzlement is charged as a federal or state crime will depend on the specific details of the case and the relevant laws and jurisdictions involved.

Overview of the Federal Embezzlement Statute

The federal embezzlement statute is codified under 18 U.S. Code § 641, which makes it a crime to embezzle, steal, or convert to one's own use any money, property, record, or thing of value belonging to the United States or any department or agency thereof. The statute also makes it illegal to receive, conceal, or retain such property knowing it has been embezzled or stolen.

The penalty for violating this statute can include fines, imprisonment, or both, depending on the value of the property that was embezzled or stolen. The severity of the penalty will depend on the specific circumstances of the case, including the nature and value of the property involved, the intent of the perpetrator, and any other aggravating or mitigating factors.

It's worth noting that there are other federal laws that may apply to cases of embezzlement, depending on the specific circumstances.

  • For example, embezzlement of funds from a federally-insured bank may be prosecuted under 18 U.S. Code § 657, while embezzlement of public money by a public official may be prosecuted under 18 U.S. Code § 643.

Contact an Orange County Fraud Defense Lawyer Today!

Fraud and embezzlement charges should not be taken lightly. Even first-time offenders with no prior criminal record face the possibility of a prison sentence. If you find yourself in such a situation, get the Orange County fraud and embezzlement lawyer you need to protect your rights and fight the charges every step of the way.

Call my firm now at 949.234.6525 and schedule your free consultation!


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