When South Carolina residents face accusations of financial misconduct, they may want to be proactive and consult with legal counsel to discuss the possibility of charges being filed and the legal proceedings that will follow. Embezzlement is one of the white collar crimes that is often filed against employees of businesses. It applies to accusations of misappropriating funds in a position of responsibility or trust when handling company assets.
Bank tellers and store clerks who have to manage large amounts of cash are sometimes accused of embezzlement. The same goes for employees who use company-owned electronic equipment, laptops and vehicles. Embezzlers sometimes remove insignificant sums of money over a period of time, while another worker may choose to remove a large amount in one transaction. Embezzlers use various tricks and schemes to conceal the funds they acquired unlawfully; from illegal billing and putting non-existing employees on a payroll, to Ponzi schemes that involve many people.
Accusations of embezzlement are easy to make but not so easy to prove. The burden of proof in such a case is on the prosecution, and the presence of four factors to support an embezzlement charge is required. The first element is that a fiduciary relationship of reliance and trust must exist between the two parties. This relationship must have led to the removal of property, and the accused individual must have taken property for own use or for transfer to another party. Lastly, the prosecution must prove that the actions of the defendant were intentional.
This leaves plenty of latitude for a skilled South Carolina criminal defense attorney to defend an embezzlement charge. An experienced lawyer can work to establish evidence to challenge one or more of the elements required to prove guilt. The key for a successful defense is typically the support and guidance of a skilled attorney to advocate for the defendant while focused on achieving the best possible outcome.
Source: FindLaw, “Embezzlement“, Accessed on Dec. 30, 2016