If you haven’t heard the term “embezzlement” before, it’s a type of property theft. This happens when someone who was entrusted to protect or monitor another person’s assets steals those assets or uses them in a way so that they personally (and wrongfully) benefit.

If you are caught committing embezzlement crimes, you may face significant penalties. Those penalties are based on a sentencing formula that factors in the value of the embezzled goods as well as if you have any prior criminal history.

For example, if the property that was embezzled is valued at $100,000 or less, then the crime is a Class H felony. If the value is over $100,000, then it’s a Class C felony. The difference in the penalties is significant. A Class H felony is punished with up to six months of imprisonment for first-time offenders. On the other hand, the Class C felony can be penalized with up to 73 months imprisonment. On top of that, restitution may also be paid back to the victims of the time.

The good news is that there are defenses to embezzlement charges. Some of the possible defenses may include:

  • A lack of intent to commit the crime
  • Committing the crime due to duress
  • Being entrapped by others who encouraged criminal activity

As you can see, the penalties for embezzlement can be significant. If you’re accused of embezzling money or assets from others, it’s worth taking some time to talk about the case with your attorney. There may be good opportunities for you to defend yourself and to protect your rights as the case moves forward.