Businessman putting the envelope into his suit pocket - corruption and embezzlement concepts

The crime of embezzlement doesn’t always involve a person stealing millions of dollars from an organization. North Carolina residents can face embezzlement charges for taking hundreds of dollars from a business, their employer, or another organization. North Carolina prosecutors do not take embezzlement charges lightly, and those convicted of embezzlement could face lengthy prison sentences and fines.

If you have been charged with embezzlement in North Carolina, it’s important that you discuss your case with an experienced attorney. Attorney Joel Hancock of Hancock Law Firm will aggressively protect your rights through the investigation process and at trial. He understands what it takes to prepare a strategic legal defense and will pursue the best outcome possible in your case, whether it is a dismissal or a reduction of the severity of charges against you.

What Is Embezzlement?

Embezzlement is a specific type of theft crime. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant stole or knowingly misappropriated funds, resources, or property from an employer, business partner, or organization. They also need to prove that the defendant took the money or property for their own personal use or gain. Embezzlement differs from larceny because the person accused of embezzlement must have been in a position of trust within the organization he or she stole from.

Additionally, the person accused of embezzlement must have had permission to access or manage the resources or money allegedly stolen or misappropriated. Embezzlement can happen in any organization, from a large corporation to a small family business. Some of the most common examples of embezzlement include:

  • An employee exaggerating his or her expenses on a work expense account
  • Overcharging a customer and then keeping the extra money
  • An employee taking money from the company’s cash register
  • An employee falsifying his or her time records
  • Using a dependent’s or relative’s pension or Social Security benefits for personal use
  • Taking money from a charity or community organization, such as a children’s sports team
  • Manipulating records or accounts to cover where the theft has happened 

The Penalties for Embezzlement in North Carolina

Embezzlement is a federal crime and also a crime in North Carolina. According to North Carolina General Statutes 14-90 through 14-99, embezzlement occurs when a person receives property by virtue of his or her officer employment through fraudulently or intentionally taking property for his or her own use. In North Carolina, embezzlement is a serious felony-level charge. The specific penalties associated with the crime depend on the value of the money or property that was taken. When the value of the stolen property is under $100,000, and the defendant is a private citizen, he or she will face class H felony charges. The defendant could face between 4 and 25 months in prison.

The penalties are even more severe when a public official is convicted of embezzling public funds. When a public official embezzles funds under $100,000, she will face a felony charge carrying a 10- to 41-month prison sentence. When the value of the stolen property exceeds $100,000, the defendant will face class C felony charges, punishable by 44 to 182 months in prison. Even if the accused is a private citizen, he or she will still face felony charges when the stolen goods are valued at over $100,000. North Carolina’s embezzlement statute includes the following specific examples of embezzlement:

  • Embezzlement of tax dollars by public officers
  • Public officers and employees embezzling state-owned property
  • Embezzlement of company assets by a surviving business partner
  • Embezzlement by officers of railroad companies
  • Embezzlement by treasurers of religious or charitable organizations
  • Public officers and trustees embezzling funds
  • Appropriation of partnership funds by a partner of a business for personal use

In addition to paying fines and serving jail time, the court can order those convicted of embezzlement to pay restitution. Restitution involves paying the party stolen from compensation, either in a lump sum or in smaller installments over time. Specific probation terms will sometimes remain intact until the defendant has paid the final installment. 

Larceny By Employee Charges in North Carolina

North Carolina law includes a specific crime called larceny by employees. If an employee steals from an employer, the employee may face this charge. The charge is similar to embezzlement and carries the same penalties. However, larceny by an employee can only be brought against a paid company or individual employee. The general embezzlement statute includes a broad range of people who can be charged with embezzling money or property.

The Benefits of Working with an Embezzlement Attorney

In addition to jail time, fines, and the requirement of paying restitution, having a criminal record can result in other negative consequences. When a person has a criminal record, it will show up in most background checks for employment, home loans, housing, and educational opportunities. 

When you’re facing state or federal charges of embezzlement, attorney Joel Hancock is here to help. He will work diligently to help you mitigate or avoid the serious, life-altering consequences of an embezzlement conviction. He will conduct an independent investigation of the charges against you to gather evidence for your defense. He will work to build a tailored legal defense strategy with the goal of securing the best outcome possible in your case.

He will also work to challenge weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and begin negotiating with the prosecution. He is prepared to advocate on your behalf at trial to pursue an acquittal when necessary. 

Discuss Your Case with a Criminal Defense Attorney in North Carolina

Even the accusation can damage your professional and personal reputation if you’ve been charged with embezzlement in North Carolina. The sooner you speak to an attorney, the sooner your attorney can gather evidence and develop an effective legal defense. Attorney Joel Hancock has the experience and knowledge to advocate for you and protect your rights. Don’t hesitate to contact Hancock Law Firm to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation case evaluation.