Cambridge Embezzlement Defense Lawyer
Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person entrusted with the same. The property most commonly appropriated is, obviously, money. As seasoned Massachusetts criminal defense lawyers know, embezzlement cases are often document intensive, complicated, and difficult for the prosecution to prove. Nevertheless, because each case presents unique challenges and our clients are at risk for lengthy periods of incarceration, civil forfeiture, and civil liability, we take every embezzlement case seriously. To properly defend our clients, especially those accused of embezzling large sums of money, we retain capable forensic investigators and accountants to examine and dissect the government’s case.
Defending Clients Accused of Embezzlement
Cambridge Embezzlement Defense Lawyer Kevin J. Mahoney has, for more than twenty years, been successfully defending individuals charged with embezzlement. Contact us at 617-492-0055 or by using our online contact form to schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense lawyers.
Massachusetts: G.L. c. 266, § 30 criminalizes common embezzlement. Under the statute, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
- While in a position of trust or confidence, was entrusted with possession of personal property belonging to another;
- Took the property, hid it, or converted it to his own use;
- Without consent of the owner; and,
- With the intent to deprive the owner of the property permanently.
Punishments Under G.L. c. 266, § 30:
- If the property stolen is a firearm, or, if the value of the property stolen exceeds $250.00: a term of incarceration in the state prison for not more than five years, or by a fine of not more than $25,000.00 and imprisonment in the county jail or house of correction for not more than two years.
- If the value of the property stolen, other than a firearm as so defined, does not exceed $250.00: a term of incarceration in county jail or house of correction for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than $300.00.
*Judges typically require those who are either convicted of embezzlement or plead guilty to the same to pay the victim restitution.
Given the variety of embezzlement schemes, not surprisingly Massachusetts has legislatively targeted several particularly egregious forms of embezzlement, including:
- Embezzlement at a fire;
- Embezzlement at the State Treasury;
- Embezzlement by a city, town, or county officer;
- Embezzlement by a bank officer or employee;
- Embezzlement by a liquidation agent;
- Embezzlement by a broker or agent; and,
- Embezzlement by a fiduciary.
Individuals may commit embezzlement in a variety of ways. Often, those embezzling funds are able to evade detection by stealing small amounts of money over lengthy periods of time. In such cases, the embezzlement may not be discovered for years. To avoid detection, those embezzling funds may falsify company records, often under-reporting company income. Others create phony vendor accounts and/or non-existent employees to dupe companies into paying for non-existent goods or services, allowing them to abscond with the payment. Employees stealing large amounts of money over relatively brief periods of time must be prepared to vanish into thin air to avoid conviction.
Precautionary Measures to Prevent Embezzlement
To prevent employees from stealing money from cash registers, businesses purchase cash registers that both total the day’s transactions and maintain detailed logs of all transactions register activity. Most stores require cashiers and managers to match the day’s cash receipts with the daily register totals. Moreover, businesses frequently divide financial duties among various employees to deter embezzlement. Increasingly, businesses periodically transfer funds from one account to another to limit the amount of time any one employee oversees those particular funds.
Commonwealth vs. F.S., Lynn District Court
Larceny Over $250: Not Guilty
Employer accused Client of embezzling over $418,000.00 from cash register over the course of almost six years by manipulating the store’s cash registers to conceal his thefts. The Commonwealth called five witnesses and introduced more than 9,000 documents, including spreadsheets detailing cash shortages, register receipts, register detail tapes, credit card receipts, time cards, and photographs. Attorney Kevin J. Mahoney cross-examined the Commonwealth’s “expert” for almost two days on the lack of corroborating documentation, such as inventory records, as well as miscalculations. The jury acquitted the client in less than an hour.
Kevin J. Mahoney is a Cambridge Embezzlement Defense Lawyer, published author, and on-air legal analyst.