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Embezzlement criminal charge can lead to harsh penalties

Many Washington residents work in jobs where they handle money. These individuals are instilled with a big responsibility, and their employers and clients trust that they will handle these funds competently. As the saying goes, money is power, and those who feel their money has been mismanaged may feel that they have been cheated. Under these circumstances, an individual or business that has lost money may turn to the individual responsible for handling it for answers. Far too often these individuals are also accused of criminal wrongdoing.

When these allegations are made an individual may be charged with embezzlement. Embezzlement occurs when an individual unlawfully converts another's funds for his or her own personal use. This is often seen in the public sector when an individual serves as a treasurer, but it can occur in many other settings, too. Those facing such criminal charges can be confronted by the potential for harsh penalties. A conviction may land an individual in jail for as long as 14 years and have him or her facing a fine that equals the amount embezzled. Also, the B felony could stay on his or her record for a long time, affecting other aspects of the individual's life.

Of course, those facing criminal charges have the opportunity to put forth a criminal defense. When facing allegations of embezzlement, an individual may be able to challenge where the funds actually went and intent. This can be done by presenting evidence that is counter to the prosecution's evidence, putting forth one's own witnesses and poking holes in the prosecution's case.

Oftentimes this requires competent legal skills. Fortunately, experienced criminal defense attorneys stand ready to help individuals fight back against overzealous prosecutors. With that in mind, those accused of criminal wrongdoing may want to consider the best way to proceed with their case, as taking the proper steps could go a long way toward protecting their freedom and their future.

Source: Washington Legislature, "RCW 43.08.140," accessed on March 6, 2017

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