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Just because it looks like embezzlement doesn’t mean it is

In today's complex business environment, following the rules is not always as easy as one might think. There are thousands of regulations that govern how businesses must interact with each other and their clients, and it is easy to accidentally violate one or more regulations without any bad intent.

It is also fairly common for a technically legal business decision to appear criminal without a strong understanding of the laws that apply to a particular kind of business or a particular kind of transaction. If you have been in your line of work for a number of years, you have probably encountered some gray areas where it is not exactly clear what the law has to say.

Unfortunately, facing embezzlement charges is harmful to any professional, whether the accusations are fair or even true. Should you find yourself facing accusations of embezzlement, remain calm and avoid speaking about the matter to anyone but an attorney who represents you. A clear, well-built defense should be your first priority. This helps protect your rights and freedoms while you work to clear up any confusion about your business practices.

Silence works for you, not against you

It is tempting to come out swinging whenever you receive allegations of embezzlement, because your reputation is on the line. While maintaining your reputation in your personal and business community is important, anything that you say to anyone who is not your attorney may come back to haunt you. Family members and friends may all receive subpoenas to testify against you, so keeping them out of the matter keeps both of you safer.

In broad strokes, the less you say about the matter to coworkers, friends and family, the less the prosecution has to work with when building their case against you. Speaking about the allegations publicly is dangerous, as is speaking about it with police or investigators without your attorney present.

Embezzlement can involve more than just money

Some people assume that embezzlement only applies to misuse of funds, but it can occur when a person takes property that does not belong to them as a part of their business dealings. For instance, it is possible to embezzle office supplies or computers to enrich one's self.

Embezzlement typically includes four components

  • A fiduciary relationship between at least two parties, where one party relies on the other
  • A suspect obtains property because of this relationship
  • A suspect moves ownership of the property to themselves or to some other party
  • A suspect takes these actions intentionally

If any of these elements is not present, then allegations of embezzlement may not hold up under scrutiny.

Navigating these issues is not easy, so it is crucial to use all the legal resources and guidance that you have available to help you understand your circumstances and the legal defense options you can use to protect your rights and freedom in Michigan.

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The Law Firm of Frank Stanley, PC
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