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Adam R. Banner ATTORNEY AT LAW
 
 

Embezzlement Defense Attorney Oklahoma

Most individuals severely underestimate the lifelong impact an Oklahoma conviction for embezzlement or any other white collar crime can carry, which is why it is crucial to retain an embezzlement attorney. Part of the misconception stems from the idea that white collar criminals will be charged with federal crimes and get to serve their sentence in the comfy confines of a federal prison. No prison setting is comfortable; moreover, one must also account for the heavy fines and restitution payments that usually accompany a conviction for Embezzlement. Furthermore, federal crimes are often prosecuted with the backing of investigation by specialized government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

However, embezzlement can also be prosecuted at the state court level. Furthermore, Oklahoma prosecutions for embezzlement and other related white collar crimes have been on the rise in recent years due to the nation-wide fallout that followed scandals associated with companies such as Enron.

What is Embezzlement?

“Embezzlement” in Oklahoma is defined as follows:

Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property of any person or legal entity, legally obtained, to any use or purpose not intended or authorized by its owner, or the secretion of the property with the fraudulent intent (see here for information on fraud in Oklahoma) to appropriate it to such use or purpose, under any of the following circumstances:

Oklahoma Embezzlement Definition:

  1. Where the property was obtained by being entrusted to that person for a specific purpose, use, or disposition and shall include, but not be limited to, any funds "held in trust" for any purpose;
  2. Where the property was obtained by virtue of a power of attorney being granted for the sale or transfer of the property;
  3. Where the property is possessed or controlled for the use of another person;
  4. Where the property is to be used for a public or benevolent purpose;
  5. Where any person diverts any money appropriated by law from the purpose and object of the appropriation;
  6. Where any person fails or refuses to pay over to the state, or appropriate authority, any tax or other monies collected in accordance with state law, and who appropriates the tax or monies to the use of that person, or to the use of any other person not entitled to the tax or monies;
  7. Where the property is possessed for the purpose of transportation, without regard to whether packages containing the property have been broken;
  8. Where any person removes crops from any leased or rented premises with the intent to deprive the owner or landlord interested in the land of any of the rent due from that land, or who fraudulently appropriates the rent to that person or any other person; or
  9. Where the property is possessed or controlled by virtue of a lease or rental agreement, and the property is willfully or intentionally not returned within ten (10) days after the expiration of the agreement.

Embezzlement does not require a distinct act of taking, but only a fraudulent appropriation, conversion, or use of property. In this sense, a person can find themselves charged with criminal liability for embezzlement in Oklahoma even if they haven’t “stuck their hands in the company cash register.”

Embezzlement Punishments

The penalties for embezzlement and other crimes based on monetary loss have recently changed in Oklahoma.According to the new laws codified on November 1, 2018, a conviction for embezzlement in Oklahoma is now punished as follows:

  1. If the value of the property embezzled is less than $1,000.00, the charge will only be a misdemeanor, and any person convicted will face a maximum punishment in the form of a fine not exceeding $1,000.00, imprisonment in the county jail for a term not more than one (1) year, or by both a fine and imprisonment;
  2. If the value of the property embezzled is $1,000.00 or more, but less than $2,500.00, any person convicted will be guilty of a felony and face a fine of up to $5,000.00 and a maximum term of two (2) years incarceration under the custody and control of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections;
  3. If the value of the property embezzled is $2,500.00 or more, but less than $15,000.00, any person convicted will be guilty of a felony and face a fine of up to $5,000.00 and imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a term of not more than five (5) years; or
  4. If the value of the property embezzled is $15,000.00 or more, any person convicted will be guilty of a felony and face a fine of up to $10,000.00 and a maximum term of eight (8) years incarceration under the custody and control of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

Charged with Embezzlement? 

To make it easier for the prosecution to prove up the dollar amount necessary for a specific range of punishment, the legislature has allowed for the aggregation of a series of events involving embezzlement into one charge if and when those events were part of a common plan or scheme or when the embezzlement occurred on a reoccurring basis.

Moreover, county or state officers, deputies, and employees who embezzle funds appropriated for a specific purpose face the harshest potential punishment. Those individuals are put in a place of extreme trust, and any misappropriation comes at a cost to the public at large. If and when such an individual is convicted of embezzlement, they face up to ten (10) years in prison and a fine of up to triple the amount they embezzled. 

In addition to fines and potential prison time, if you are convicted of embezzlement or any other white collar crime, you will likely be ordered to pay restitution to the victim as provided in Section 991f of Title 22 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

It is important to note that restitution (the amount lost and owed) may be litigated separately from the guilt/innocence aspect of an embezzlement charge. Just because you might be guilty of the crime, it does not necessarily mean you are responsible for all the alleged loss.

 

If you or a loved one has been charged with embezzlement in Oklahoma, time is of the essence. You need an Oklahoma embezzlement attorney, and you need one right now. Call the Law Offices of Adam R. Banner, P.C., and retain an accomplished attorney ready to fight for your rights. Call us today at  (405) 778-4800 for a free consultation. 

For more information visit https://www.oklahomalegalgroup.com/

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