On Sept. 19, the sister of reality TV star Jesse James was sentenced to three years in federal prison for embezzling approximately $336,000 from her former California employer. She was also ordered to pay $368,152 in restitution.
On Aug. 27, it was reported that 33 postal workers were charged by federal authorities in California with mail theft, embezzlement and other crimes. One of the accused postal workers allegedly was found with tens of thousands of pieces of mail in her direct possession. Of the 33 who were charged, six had arrest warrants issued for them.
On Aug. 8, a 56-year-old film producer in California agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of interstate transportation of stolen property as part of a plea deal. The felony offense is related to the producer's alleged embezzlement of $1.5 million from Yucaipa Corporate Initiatives Fund, an investment fund run by billionaire Ron Burkle.
Embezzlement charges may come from the state of California or they may be brought by the federal government. Federal charges may arise in situations where the property allegedly embezzled is deemed connected to a federally-regulated market, a federal program or interstate commerce. At the federal level, cases may allege theft of supplies and tools to counterfeit money or other government documents, theft of artwork or failure to deposit or safeguard federal government funds.
Many people may hear of someone being accused of "embezzlement," and they may think that the individual did something truly awful. The term immediately invokes an image of a greedy, untrustworthy person who committed a financial crime. And while the crime is financial in nature, not everyone that is accused of embezzlement is found guilty of the crime, nor does it mean they are greedy or untrustworthy.
There are numerous types of white collar crimes. Whether it is fraud, embezzlement, or identity theft if a financial transaction or a computer is involved than it will likely be considered a white collar crime. These offenses are often aggressively prosecuted, especially since those who allege to have lost money may speak very loudly on the matter. One type of white collar crime, insider trading, is no exception.
A California man is facing allegations that he took part in white collar crimes, defrauding his company of hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to reports, the 61-year-old contractor is accused of embezzling in excess of $440,000 when he used the company's credit card for personal uses. The man is also accused of using those credit cards to upgrade his vacation residence in Hawaii. In addition to embezzlement, the contractor is accused of property damage and loss and misappropriation of public funds by overcharging a county for his work.
Many Californians know that embezzlement is a serious crime, but are a bit fuzzy on what, exactly, it entails. Embezzlement is theft of money or property by an individual who has been entrusted to watch over them. This is why embezzlement often arises in an employment context, where employees are accused of stealing money from the business. For example, a bank teller is trusted to handle the bank's money and to ensure accounts are credited and debited accurately. If a bank teller starts pocketing money and falsifying account records in an attempt to hide his or her tracks, then embezzlement has occurred.
A few weeks back, we wrote about the indictment of California State Senator, Leland Yee, for federal crimes involving public corruption. The allegations of white collar crimes, such as bribery and embezzlement, were serious enough. However, since that time, the full scope of the federal investigation and the allegations against Senator Yee has become very public. The charges now extend beyond white collar crimes to allegations of federal firearm offenses, federal drug crimes and even murder-for-hire.
Being accused of a crime related to the work environment is often serious and could damage their personal and professional reputation. This involves a broad range of criminal activities from embezzlement and wire fraud to ponzi schemes and more. While the term white collar crime is broad, what these crimes tend to have in a common is that they involve crimes of deceit motivated by financial award. While federal authorities take all federal crimes seriously, in recent years there has been an increased focus on white collar crimes.