If you are being investigated for theft of funds from your place of work, how you immediately respond will go a long way in determining whether you end up convicted of a crime, imprisoned or merely forced to leave your job. Because only in the most extreme circumstances will you first learn of this investigation at the time you are arrested, you will have ample opportunity to shape how the investigation ends. For this reason, it is important to hire the best criminal defense attorney you can find whether you work in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or anywhere else and get the appropriate advice to ensure that your future is not destroyed.
Embezzlement is Charged as Larceny in New York
Embezzlement is not a crime charged in the New York Penal Law. Instead, theft from an employer is charged as Larceny, and the degree of the Larceny charge is premised on the value of the property stolen: the range of charges starts with misdemeanor Petit Larceny charge (NYPL § 155.25 – theft of property valued at up to $1000) exposing the defendant to up to a year in prison, all the way up to Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a B felony (NYPL § 155.42), with potential prison time of up to 25 years if more than $1 million is stolen from an employer.
Get An Attorney Involved and Possibly Save Your Career
Regardless of the criminal penalty, one is not likely to get hired in his or her next job if charged and convicted of stealing from an employer in their last job: so the main goal is to avoid an arrest and conviction. Usually, an employer who suspects one of its employees is stealing will do an in-house investigation first, prior to contacting law enforcement. The targeted employee will usually be asked for an interview about the purported theft. Employers do not fire employees on allegations of theft instantly unless they are certain of guilt: too many legal issues and potential litigation comes into play. Instead, employers wish to get a confession first – to make the impending firing less problematic and the possibility of an arrest and criminal conviction more likely. When contacted by Human Resources or by an investigator from your employer, the main thing to remember is that while confession may be good for your soul, it will not be good for your resume or future job prospects. So instead of agreeing to an interview, contact a top New York criminal lawyer and have them intercede at this point.
Remember that employers who suspect their employees have stolen from them are concerned about two things: potential legal ramifications (the employee may have stolen from a client of the firm) and getting the money back. Having the employee arrested is not their first priority as an arrest will necessarily involve a plethora of other parties (prosecutors, judges, pesky defense attorneys) whose focus will not necessarily be in line with that of the employer. Getting a criminal attorney to intercede at this point may negate the necessity for the involvement of law enforcement as the employer’s goals – getting some or all of the money returned, avoiding any legal issues – can be met. In exchange for this result, employers may even agree to part company with the suspected employee without even a mention of the theft (or termination) in the employee’s record.
This is how I recently handled a client who was being investigated for stealing $15,000 from his employer – a bank. The money purportedly belonged to a customer of the bank and the money was removed from his account. My client luckily contacted me before he spoke to the bank’s investigators and in exchange for the repayment of the money, law enforcement was not contacted and my client left his position with no criminal record and not even a negative mention of the situation in his file. This is just one of many instances in which I have been able to achieve such a result where a client has been alleged to have stolen money from an employer or customer of an employer — even as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Contact a Top New York Larceny Attorney Today
If you have been suspected of stealing from an employer, don’t stick your head in the sand until you are arrested and your life — and future — are destroyed. Contact the New York Larceny and Embezzlement attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 to discuss your situation today.