Terms like embezzlement and larceny seem to get jumbled together when thinking about criminal law. To clear things up a bit, embezzlement is a form of larceny. Larceny, what many refer to as “theft,” refers to the wrongful taking of property from its rightful owner. A person may commit larceny through embezzlement. Embezzlement falls within New York’s larceny statutes.
Embezzlement and its Potential Penalties
Embezzlement is the taking of property by a person who was entrusted with the property by its rightful owner without permission. For instance, if an officer or director of a corporation steals corporate funds. It is often related to or a part of other criminal schemes in progress. For New York’s larceny statutes, property refers to any thing or substance of value. This means money, personal property, real property, and digital assets, among other things. There is usually either a 2 or 5-year statute of limitations for embezzlement crimes. This means prosecutors have 2 or 5 years to bring charges. Under most circumstances, the statute of limitations is 5 years because embezzlement charges often involve thefts beyond $1,000, which qualifies as grand larceny.
The degree of the criminal charge of larceny by embezzlement and the subsequent severity of the punishment should the charge turn into a conviction, largely depends on the value of the stolen property.
- Grand Larceny Embezzlement in the Fourth Degree: This charge applies in situations where the value of the stolen property exceeded $1,000. It is a Class E felony and carries a potential prison sentence of 4 months to 4 years. If you have a prior felony conviction within the past ten years, you may be sentenced 2 to 4 years in prison.
- Grand Larceny Embezzlement in the Third Degree: This charge applies in situations where the value of the stolen property was greater than $3,000, but $50,000 or less. It is a Class D Felony and carries a potential prison sentence of 2 years and 4 months up to 7 years.
- Grand Larceny Embezzlement in the Second Degree: This charge applies in situations where the value of the stolen property was greater than $50,000, but $1,000,000 or less. It is a Class C Felony and carries a potential prison sentence of between 5 and 15 years in prison. This level of embezzlement is where things take a turn for the very serious as the criminal justice system sees this level of theft and above as causing lasting and irreparable harm to a business or individuals. The way this crime is prosecuted, sentences are handed down, and in how bail requests are handled often reflect this.
The most serious embezzlement charge is for situations where the property stolen exceeded $1,000,000 in value. It is a first-degree offense and a class B felony. Those convicted of this offense face a sentence of 8 years and 4 months to 25 years in prison. If the convicted individual has a previous felony conviction in the last ten years, he or she faces the possibility of 12 and a half years to 25 years in state prison.
New York Criminal Defense Attorneys
Embezzlement charges are very serious. The possible prison time is serious. The lasting consequences that hang in the balance are serious as well. The damage an embezzlement conviction will do to your personal and professional life will reach far and wide. The dedicated team of criminal defense counsel at CDH Law is prepared to fight for you as you face these criminal charges. We will work tirelessly to help see that those charges do not turn into a conviction. Contact us today.