New York criminal attorneys with Joseph Potashnik and Associates PC represent individuals who are investigated for or charges with embezzlement in New York. We have successfully defended numerous clients accused of embezzlement and other theft crimes.

The crime of embezzlement in New York is generally defined as the fraudulent conversion of property by someone who is in lawful possession of that property. This means that the crime of embezzlement occurs when someone who has legitimate control over property he or she does not own, takes ownership of the property without the permission of the actual owner. Such an act is called “fraudulent conversion” and it is crucial to a charge of embezzlement. Conversion means using or taking ownership of property that was entrusted to you, for your own purposes or benefit, and in a way that you know was not intended or authorized.

To prove a case of embezzlement, four elements must be established: (1) the property in question must belong to someone other than the accused person; (2) the property must have been converted after the person had lawful possession of it; (3) the accused person must have been in a trusted position, with legal access to or possession of the property; and (4) that person must have intentionally defrauded the owner of the property.

Typically, embezzlement is committed by an employee of a business, who has access to business property or to property deposited with the business by its customers. Other individuals in a fiduciary relationship can also be charged with embezzlement. Altering or forging records or documents in order to cover up the theft can be a specific kind of embezzlement. For instance, accounting embezzlement is the manipulation of accounting records to disguise the theft of funds.

Other examples of embezzlement include professionals who are entrusted with client’s funds, such as attorneys, accountants, bank tellers, and financial advisers. Examples of embezzlement include the bank teller who pockets

Attorneys can be found guilty of embezzlement when they intentionally withdraw their clients’ funds held in escrow accounts for their own use. Accountants and bookkeepers can commit embezzlement if they steal their clients money such as tax refunds, payroll or employment tax. We had represented accountants who simply stole cash from client’s accounts.

The penalty for embezzlement depends upon the amount stolen and may include a fine, restitution, and/or a prison sentence. Whatever the legal penalty, a conviction of embezzlement will seriously damage one’s reputation and chances of future employment.


Fighting Embezzlement Charges

Embezzlement is a serious crime with potentially very serious consequences. If you are accused of a crime, it does not mean that you are guilty of it. It is the something the prosecutor must prove beyond the reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the defense attorney’s job is to demonstrate that there is enough reasonable doubt. In embezzlement cases the reasonable doubt can exist in many scenarios. There are questions that need to be answered. How many people had access to the embezzled funds? How was the money deposited, to which account and by whom? Was there really a special fiduciary duty between the accused and the victim? Was the accused acting outside the scope of authorization? Is there any evidence that the withdrawal was made with the victim’s consent?


What to do if you are accused of Embezzlement?

If you are going to be accused of embezzlement, most likely you will be accused by your employer or co-workers. Whether or not you have actually committed the crime, it is important to not to make haste decisions. We recommend not discussing the case with anyone, not making any statements whatsoever, and not signing any documents. Some employers, when confronted with the fact that money may have been mishandled, probably by their employees or those entrusted to safe keep the money have been know to threaten the suspected employee with criminal prosecution to elicit statements or to force the employee to return the money.

In virtually any embezzlement case, the main desire of any victim is to get the funds back. In many situations, when embezzlement actually occurred, a restitution plan may be negotiated in a way that will prevent criminal charges. Whatever the case may be, it is important to seek competent legal advice as soon as you have been accused. We are available to speak with you at any time to answer your questions.

If you are accused of embezzlement by your employer, client, or police, you need to be prepared to defend yourself but you should not do that on your own. Joseph Potashnik and Associates PC offers representation to persons accused of embezzlement. Our team of highly experienced and skilled attorneys will work tirelessly to mount an energetic, comprehensive defense in order to obtain the best possible disposition in your case. For a thorough and straightforward analysis of your case, contact us at (212) 577-6677.