Diligently representing trustees in state and federal courts

Embezzlement is a unique type of theft that typically is considered a white collar crime. It is committed when someone who is entrusted to manage or monitor someone else’s money or property takes some of that property for personal use.

Clifford & Harris, PLLC provides criminal defense to public officials and private citizens charged with stealing money they had access to but did not own.

Our clients include anyone in a position of financial trust: corporate and bank employees, investors, estate trustees, professionals, charitable board members and employees and elected and government employees at the local, state and federal levels. We have the caliber of talent required to achieve results in any white collar criminal defense.

Embezzlement penalties in North Carolina

Punishment for embezzlement depends on the relationship you, as the trustee, have with the victim and on the value of the property stolen. It also varies greatly based on your prior criminal record and any aggravating or mitigating factors. Because judges have considerable discretion in sentencing, it is vital to have an attorney championing your interests.

Generally, you are guilty of felony embezzlement if you take money or property for your own use while:

  • Exercising a public trust
  • Holding a public office
  • Serving as a guardian, administrator, executor, trustee, receiver or fiduciary
  • Acting as an officer or agent of a corporation, or any agent, consignee, clerk, bailee or servant of another person

For crimes involving more than $100,000, it is a Class C felony, punishable by 44 to 92 months in prison, if you have no prior criminal record. Embezzlement of less than $100,000 is a Class H felony, which carries a four- to eight-month sentence.

Public employees

While public office holders who embezzle fall under the above category, penalties are slightly different for public employees. Employees of the state, county, city or other local government, school board, penal agency as well as charitable, religious and educational institutions face:

  • A Class C felony (44 to 92 months) for stealing more than $100,000
  • A Class F felony (10 to 20 months) for stealing less than $100,000
  • A Superior Court clerk, county sheriff, treasurer and a register of deeds falls under this provision.

Other defendants

North Carolina law provides specific penalties for a few specific positions. A treasurer of a charitable or religious institution, a railroad company officer or a business partner who embezzles faces:

Federal penalties

Many federal laws govern white collar crime. In general, embezzling federal money or property can result in a fine and/or up to 10 years in prison. Stealing less than $1,000 in a single case is punishable by a fine and/or up to a year in prison.

Greensboro attorneys who understand embezzlement law

Embezzlement charges can be complex. Effective defense begins with an attorney who knows the law and knows finance. The attorneys at Clifford & Harris, PLLC have more than 65 combined years of experience in white collar crime. Let us help you get through this. Call our law firm at 336-574-2788.