A 43-year-old Huntington Beach woman who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $750,000 from her employers has been sentenced to eight years in state prison. According to a news report in The Huntington Beach Independent, the woman was a part-time bookkeeper who embezzled $171,000 from an Irvine-based company and $578,000 from a Huntington Beach-based company by hiding extra salary checks she paid to herself.
She legitimately made about $2,000 a month, but was spending over $20,000 a month on vacations, vehicles, and breast enhancement surgeries, the report said. The charges she was sentenced for include grand theft embezzlement, money laundering, forgery, and falsifying financial records.
Embezzlement is defined by California Penal Code 503 as “the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been intrusted.” It is a white-collar crime that is commonly known as employee theft. An embezzlement conviction will not only result in significant criminal penalties but also long-term career consequences. Embezzlement carries a stigma that discourages future employers and limits career opportunities.
There are many reasons why an Orange County employee may wrongfully face embezzlement charges. Misleading evidence, a simple lapse in judgment, and false accusations can all result in serious criminal charges. In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant had a relationship of trust with the victim or business, was entrusted with certain property, and intentionally deprived the victim of that property.
Embezzlement is punishable as grand theft or petty theft depending upon if the value of the embezzled property exceeded $950. Petty theft embezzlement can result in six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Misdemeanor theft can result in a year in county jail and a fine of $1,000. Felony embezzlement can result in 16 months, two, or three years in state prison with a $10,000 fine. It is important that if charged with embezzlement or fraud you contact an experienced Orange County white collar crime defense lawyer to help you fight the charges.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of David A. Stein are available for a no-cost consultation about any drug charge or criminal matter. We have the experience and relationships with prosecutors to help you get the best possible outcome. Call us today at 949-445-0040 or email us online here.