Florida Embezzlement Basics

Embezzlement is a white collar crime involving a specific kind of theft. Many states have different rules for embezzlement than for larceny or other kinds of theft, though under Florida law, embezzlement is charged under the same statute as general theft and the penalty is based on the value of the property embezzled. Federal law also prohibits embezzlement when the target of the embezzlement is federal property or there is another relationship to federal rights or responsibilities. Therefore, people can be charged under either (or both) statutes depending on the property that was embezzled.

What is Embezzlement?

Embezzlement is a kind of theft, but it is different from larceny or other kinds of theft because the property is one that the embezzler had a right to have possession of in the first place. Larceny is the taking of property from another, such as shoplifting or stealing something that belongs to someone else. With embezzlement, a person has the right to have possession of the property initially, but then they take it with the intention of keeping it. For example, in some jobs, part of the job is taking cash from the business and making bank deposits. During the time the employee is holding on to the money to bring it to the bank, he or she is lawfully in possession of it. However, if that employee takes the money home with them instead of depositing in the bank and intends to keep it, that would be embezzlement. Embezzlement can take many forms, but often the embezzlement happens in the course of someone’s employment since that is when it is most likely that someone would have a reason to hold someone else’s property.

Penalties in Florida

As mentioned above, Florida law treats embezzlement the same as other kinds of theft so the severity depends on the amount that is embezzled. Embezzlement can be a felony or a misdemeanor. If the amount that is stolen is less than $100 then it is a second degree misdemeanor and punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. Embezzlement of amounts of $100-$300 is a misdemeanor in the first degree and is punishable by a fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail. Amounts between $300 and $20,000 is a felony of the third degree and come with a prison sentence of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Second degree felonies include embezzlement where the amount embezzled is $20,000-$100,000, or it is cargo from a loading platform valued at $50,000 or less, or it is law enforcement or medical equipment valued at $300 or more. A second degree felony is punished by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Anything above these amounts is a first degree felony punishable by up to $10,000 and/or up to 30 years in prison.

West Palm Beach White Collar Crime Attorneys

If you are charged with embezzlement or another kind of white collar crime, you need a skilled white collar crime attorney on your side to help navigate the intricacies of federal and state law. Our experienced white collar crime attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A., in West Palm Beach Florida can provide you with a zealous defense strategy.

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