If a person is accused of embezzlement, he or she can face serious penalties and reputational harm. Embezzlement occurs when a person has lawful possession of property belonging to another person, he or she converts or takes the property for his or her own use and does not intend to return it. Property also includes money.
When he or she takes the property, it can be in the form of using it, selling it, giving it away, damaging it or permanently withholding it from its rightful owner. Embezzlement can happen in a variety of settings, but occurs most often in employment or corporate settings. It can include submitting false invoices, taking cash from a register and falsifying records.
In Mississippi, the penalties imposed for embezzlement depend on the value of the property taken. Felony convictions can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and the court may also impose a fine.
In addition, this type of conviction may make it difficult for the person to find future employment, especially if the embezzlement occurred in a business setting.
There are several defenses to embezzlement. This includes demonstrating that the accused took the property for a legitimate reason, did not have an intent to commit a crime or showing that he or she did not take the money or property at all. Also, there may be insufficient evidence for the accusation.
If a person is accused of embezzlement, it can be difficult to know what to do next. An experienced criminal defense attorney can provide guidance and advice.