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How Can a Birthday Party Lead to Criminal Charges?

A Florida woman recently threw a birthday party for her boss and ended up facing embezzlement charges. The woman was an office manager for a real estate company in Boca Grande and was in charge of the company’s financial books. After she organized the birthday party without approval of her bosses, they decided to analyze her bookkeeping. They discovered that she had embezzled $181,674 to pay off her personal credit cards and as extra pay for herself. She was charged with first-degree felony, grand theft and a scheme to defraud.

Embezzlement occurs when a person who is entrusted to manage the money or property of another, takes it for his or her own personal gain. Embezzlement can occur in many different ways, but the key is that the defendant had a special position of trust regarding the funds, and they violated that trust. For example, a board member who manages the funds of an organization can be charged with embezzlement if he takes some of the funds for his own use.

Under Florida law, embezzlement is a form of theft punishable according to the type and value of the property taken. Embezzlement is often charged as a felony:

First-degree felony—Property valued at $100,000 or more. Punishment can include a fine of $10,000, up to 30 years in prison, or both.

Second-degree felony—Property valued at $20,000 or more but less than $100,000. Punishment can include a fine up of $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison.

Third-degree felony—Property valued at $300 or more but less than $20,000. Punishment can include a fine of $5,000 and up to 5 years in prison.

You can also face a driver’s license suspension for up to 6 months if this is your first offense.

If you find yourself facing embezzlement charges in Florida, working with experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers can help you get the best results for your criminal case.