Facing charges of embezzlement can be overwhelming. While you may face significant penalties if convicted, even facing charges can come with substantial consequences for your career, reputation and future.
For those working in sales, finance, accounting or another industry involving close contact with company or client funds, understanding what embezzlement is and the penalties you could face is critical. South Carolina law is tough on white collar crimes and fraudulent activities. Whether your actions were intentional or by accident, you could find yourself entangled in a high stakes legal situation.
Consequences of a conviction in South Carolina
Embezzlement can include the theft of funds from customer or corporate accounts, the abuse of corporate credit cards, misusing company property and more. South Carolina law prohibits individuals tasked with the safekeeping, movement or distribution of funds within a company from engaging in embezzlement.
Consequences for those who violate such provisions can include:
- Paying fines in proportion to the amount of money embezzled
- Facing prison time of up to five or ten years, depending on the amount of money embezzled
- Being disqualified from holding an officer position in any company across the state
Those facing charges at the federal level could be subjected to even greater penalties.
Is it embezzlement or a mistake?
In many cases, a simple mistake is not enough to seek charges against you for embezzlement. To prove the act of embezzlement, the state or federal prosecution must prove that a fiduciary relationship existed between you and the other party, that you acquired access to the funds through this relationship, that you either took ownership of the property or gave it to someone else and that your actions were intentional. Even if the prosecution can prove much of these criteria, proving intent can be challenging.
When you face charges of embezzlement, you not only face financial penalties and the threat of prison time, but your career and livelihood can be at stake. Additionally, your criminal record could make it difficult for you to apply for employment, education and even a loan. When you face such steep consequences, you need to work with a skilled attorney to fight for your rights, develop a strong defense strategy and protect your future.