Embezzlement charges in Virginia – misdemeanor or felony?

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2020 | Embezzlement, White Collar Crimes |

If convicted in Virginia, the punishment for embezzlement depends on whether the prosecutor classified the charge as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor offense generally occurs when an employee has allegedly taken property or money from an employer worth less than $200. If a jury convicts an individual of a misdemeanor embezzlement charge, penalties may include up to one year in jail, restitution and a $2,500 fine.

When an employee has allegedly misappropriated funds or property worth more than $200, it can lead to a felony charge. A felony conviction may include a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. A judge may also order an employee convicted of felony embezzlement to pay a fine and restitution. A defendant may, however, receive a lesser sentence by entering into a plea deal.

Former bookkeeper pleads guilty to embezzlement

A bookkeeper found herself facing a serious felony embezzlement charge after allegations surfaced that she misappropriated money from her employer. The amount purportedly taken was more than $26,000 and took place while she performed accounting work for the owners of two transportation companies. As reported by The Roanoke Times, she allegedly copied and cashed 32 of her paychecks and failed to send payments to the IRS on behalf of the company.

Aware that the severity of the felony charge could result in lengthy incarceration, the defendant entered into a plea deal with the prosecutor. She admitted to her actions and pleaded guilty to one embezzlement charge. A judge sentenced her to 30 days in jail and ordered her to pay restitution to her former employer.

Felony charges may not always result in lengthy incarceration

In cases involving embezzlement charges, a prosecutor must prove certain factors to convict. A conviction requires that there was an intent to obtain personal gain, the money came from an employer and a relationship of fiduciary trust existed between the defendant and employer.

The details related to an embezzlement investigation can often be complex and a strong defense may counteract a prosecutor’s allegations. When the evidence is overwhelming, however, a plea deal may result in a significantly lesser sentence.

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