The theft of property or money when one is in a position of trust is the basis of embezzlement crimes in Colorado. This means that the person who was entrusted to take care of the property or money is the one who misappropriates it, having had legal access to it because of their position of trust. If you need someone who understands this area of law to assist in your own case, call the Iyer Law Office in Denver.
Embezzlement crimes in Colorado can occur when an individual takes small amounts of money over a long period of time or a large amount all at once. The embezzler usually uses a cover-up like moving the money from one bank to another, creating dummy accounts, giving it to middlemen, or sometimes creating fake invoices for items or work. Sometimes the embezzler is very skillful in their deception and may not be found out for a long period of time. It is often discovered by an audit.
Differences From Theft
The crime of embezzlement is different from the crime of theft in four ways:
- Relationship of Trust – There must be a relationship based on trust, which is a fiduciary relationship.
- Property of Trust – The misappropriated property must be taken as a result of that trust relationship.
- Takes Ownership – The embezzler assumes ownership of the property or transfers it to someone else. Taking money from an employer is a very common example of embezzlement.
- Intent – The taking of the property or money was intentional. Even if the embezzler returns the money or property, the crime of embezzlement has still been committed.
Defense of Embezzlement Crimes in Colorado
There has to be evidence that the suspect knew it was wrong to take the property or money. If they believed they had a right to take it but was wrong, it is not embezzlement. The taking of the money and property has to be done purposely with the intent to defraud and to keep it. To prove there was fraud, there must be a misrepresentation of a material fact made with the knowledge that it is false and made with intent to induce the victim to rely on the misrepresentation. The victim then must rely on the misrepresentation and suffer damages as a result.
No Personal Use
It must be shown that the suspect converted the money or property for personal use.
A defense to embezzlement is that there was a mistake of fact.
Not the Responsible Party
The suspect was not the responsible party. There were other people who had access and could have taken the money or property.
Lack of Trust
There was no entrustment, meaning the suspect was never entrusted with the money or property.
No Permanent Ownership
The suspect never intended to permanently deprive the owner of the money or property.
Punishment for Embezzlement
The punishment for embezzlement depends on the amount of money or property taken, the nature of the betrayal of trust, why it was taken, how long it was going on, their criminal and personal history, and how quickly the money or property is paid back (restitution).
If you have questions regarding embezzlement crimes in Colorado, call our attorney Vee Iyer of the Iyer Law Office in Denver for a free consultation about your case. If you choose our team of criminal defense lawyers, we’ll work with and advocate for you to ensure the best possible outcome.