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Most individuals severely underestimate the lifelong impact a conviction for embezzlement or any other white-collar crime can carry, which is why it is crucial to retain an embezzlement attorney familiar with these types of charges.. Part of the misconception stems from the idea that white collar criminals will face federal charges 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 an investigation conducted 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, it can also be prosecuted at the state court level. Furthermore, Oklahoma prosecutions for embezzlement and other related crimes have been on the rise in recent years due to the nation-wide fallout that followed scandals associated with companies such as Enron.
“Embezzlement” in Oklahoma is defined as follows:
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:
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.”
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.
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 crime 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, 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 criminal charges. 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 attorney, and you need one right now. Call the Law Offices of Adam R. Banner, P.C., and retain an accomplished white collar crimes attorney ready to fight for your rights. Call us today at (405) 778-4800 for a free consultation.