Criminal Defense Lawyers in Miami Protecting the Rights of Individuals Accused of Embezzlement and other White Collar Crimes
Like most white collar crimes, embezzlement can be a serious offense that subjects a defendant to the potential of decades in prison. There are serious financial consequences, as well. A conviction can ruin a person’s reputation. This can lead to difficulty finding employment, housing, or even financial loans for such important activities as going to college or buying a house. Defendants must be protected from wrongful convictions in order to avoid being unfairly subjected to these serious consequences.
The experienced criminal defense attorney at Stroleny Law, P.A. knows how to protect a defendant’s constitutional rights at every stage of a law enforcement investigation and criminal court proceedings. He helps clients avoid making incriminating statements to law enforcement officers. He fights to suppress evidence that was unlawfully obtained, and to dismiss charges that are not supported by lawful evidence. He helps clients determine the best way of achieving a fair resolution to criminal charges against them. Call (305) 615-1285 today to schedule your free consultation.
What is Embezzlement?
Black’s Law Dictionary defines embezzlement as the fraudulent appropriation of property or money entrusted to the defendant by another to his (or her) own use or benefit. The definition specifies that an embezzler can be a clerk, agent, trustee, public officer, or other person acting in a fiduciary character. To understand this complex legal definition, it is helpful to see a common example of embezzlement. A company accountant who is supposed to deposit cash into the company account, but instead, deposits the cash to a personal account, has embezzled the deposit. Embezzlement can also be completed with property instead of cash. Suppose, for example, that a car dealership employee is entrusted with a new vehicle for the purpose of getting it washed. Instead of going to a car wash, the employee takes off in the vehicle never to be seen again. This, too, is an example of embezzlement.
Florida does not have a separate statute that is specific to embezzlement. Rather, embezzlement cases are prosecuted under Florida’s general theft statute (Section 812.014). This Section defines theft as being committed by one who knowingly obtains or uses the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently: (a) deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property, or (b) appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property. The Statute then classifies theft offenses based upon the value of the property that was taken.
In academic theory, the difference between theft and embezzlement is in the defendant’s position of trust. With embezzlement, the defendant initially had the right to be in possession of the money or property for a specific reason. (For example, the company accountant who lawfully held the company’s cash for the purpose of depositing it at the bank.) In theft, the defendant never had a lawful reason to be in possession of the victim’s money or property. Some states punish embezzlement more severely because it involves an abuse of a position of trust. Florida, however, treats the offenses the same and prosecutes both under our general theft statute. The difference between the two is, therefore, strictly academic. The practical consequences and effects of the two crimes are generally the same under Florida law.
Embezzlement of Trade Secrets
The Florida Statutes also make specific provisions for the embezzlement of trade secrets. A trade secret is defined in Section 812.081 as any formula, pattern, device, combination of devices, or compilation of information which is for use, or is used, in the operation of a business and which provides the business an advantage, or an opportunity to obtain an advantage, over those who do not know or use it. Our criminal defense lawyer knows that this term includes any scientific, technical, or commercial information, including financial information, and includes any design, process, procedure, list of suppliers, list of customers, business code, or improvement thereof. A trade secret can be any part or phrase of the formula, pattern, device, or combination described above.
To understand the embezzlement of trade secrets, it is helpful to imagine an employee of a startup tech company. The company is new and innovative and comes out with new mobile apps that are extremely popular. A disgruntled employee decides to sell information about an upcoming app to the company’s competitor so that the competitor can beat them to market. The information about the app is a trade secret of the company that developed it. By abusing his position within the company to access the information, the employee has embezzled that trade secret.
Interestingly, this statute refers to either theft or embezzlement of a trade secret. This is a notable distinction (given that Florida law does not differentiate between the two crimes in other areas of the Statutes). This distinction recognizes that many trade secrets are taken by someone in the company who has access to them. The choice of wording (theft or embezzlement) casts a wide net to protect the theft of trade secrets, whether by someone within the company who had access to them or by someone who never had a right to access the protected information.
The Right Miami Defense Attorney for Your Embezzlement Case
Embezzlement, theft, and related offenses carry the possibility of consequences that can follow a defendant for the rest of his or her life. This is why it is so important to hire an experienced criminal attorney who knows how to suppress unlawful evidence, fight for dismissal of inappropriate charges, and go to trial when necessary. Even after trial, you have important constitutional rights that must be protected. Appeals and other post-conviction matters can also carry lifelong consequences. Give yourself the most legal protection you can by consulting with an experienced Miami embezzlement attorney as soon as possible. The experienced criminal defense attorney at Stroleny Law, P.A. can help protect your constitutional rights at all stages of criminal case proceedings. Call (305) 615-1285 for a free phone consultation as soon as possible. You can also contact us through our online contact form.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.