I’m Being Investigated for Embezzlement at Work. What Should I Do?
A common reason a person may go from the office to the courtroom is embezzlement. An embezzlement crime is the misappropriation of funds by a person in a position of trust or power. Company insiders like CEOs, CFOs, managers, and even secretaries can often find themselves in trouble if they engage in this behavior. Continue reading to learn more about embezzlement investigations and what you should do if you’re involved in one.
How Embezzlement Investigations Are Conducted
A proper investigation gathers information from relevant witnesses and allows the respondent an opportunity to respond to the accusations. Investigations should be confidential and not disrupt the daily workflow. If an employer suspects embezzlement, an investigation will likely occur to determine if a theft occurred, the amount stolen, and how someone stole the funds. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re under investigation for embezzlement at work.
Participating in an investigation is stressful, and cases often take weeks to resolve. Meeting with the respondent is usually the last step before an investigator completes their report and recommendations. During this time, it’s best to remain calm and keep everything confidential.
As the subject of the investigation, you should receive all information needed to respond to the allegations against you. If your employer asks you to take a leave of absence or work from home during the investigation, you are entitled to ask if the company can complete the investigation in a way less intrusive to your work.
It’s in your best interest to cooperate and participate when asked. However, if questions begin to overlap with your personal life or actions outside the office, you may want to consider asking how those questions are relevant to the investigation. Withholding or providing false information can hurt your credibility. However, lets be honest, if you broke a criminal law, anything you may say could be used against you. So be careful. You may want to talk to a lawyer first!
Know Your Rights
It’s important to remember that embezzlement is rarely caught in the act. Instead, suspicions initiate through an employee report, audit, or circumstantial evidence. If your employer does not follow proper procedures, you may have grounds to make a claim or complaint against your company.
Employers who fail to follow an appropriate investigation process could breach contractual duties and engage in defamation. Employers are quick to begin an investigation, which can lead to mistakes, violate employee rights, or act on rumors and personal opinions.
Embezzlement Penalties in Florida
The punishment for embezzlement in Florida comes from laws regarding theft. In Florida, embezzlement could be charged as petit theft or grand theft. The severity of the sentence depends on the amount stolen. For example, theft of property valued between $300 and $20,000 qualifies as grand theft in the third degree.
Theft that does not meet requirements for a felony prosecution becomes a petit theft. State laws punish petit theft as a second-degree misdemeanor, bringing a prison sentence up to 60 days and a fine up to $500. However, if the defendant has a prior conviction, the state can prosecute subsequent offenses as a first-degree misdemeanor. This charge results in a sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.
Trusted Defense Lawyers in Central Florida
If you’re under investigation of embezzlement at work, contact the attorneys at the Umansky Law Firm. We are a trusted legal representation source in Central Florida for adults facing criminal charges. We are aggressive criminal defense lawyers with over 100 years of combined experience. Our team of former prosecutors provides a unique point of view with every case. To schedule your free consultation, call our office or complete our contact form.