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Embezzlement



Understanding Embezzlement: An Overview

Embezzlement, often perceived as a complex form of financial fraud, is a significant concern in Florida’s legal landscape. Unlike traditional theft, embezzlement involves the misappropriation of funds or property by someone to whom it was entrusted. This breach of trust distinguishes embezzlement from other theft crimes, positioning it firmly within the realm of white-collar offenses.

What is Embezzlement? Embezzlement is the act of withholding assets for the purpose of conversion of such assets, by one or more individuals to whom these assets were entrusted, either to be held or to be used for specific purposes.

In Florida, while there’s no statute explicitly labeled “embezzlement,” such actions are prosecuted under the state’s comprehensive property theft statute, 812.014. This legal approach means that whether an individual diverts funds from a corporate account for personal use or an employee siphons cash from a register, the underlying legal principles and potential penalties remain consistent.

Understanding Embezzlement in Florida

At Leppard Law, our white-collar crimes defense attorneys understand the nuances of embezzlement charges. Lead by Joe Easton and John Vallillo, with over 60 years of combined criminal defense experience, our team is adept at navigating the complexities of these cases. Embezzlement can carry severe penalties, including significant fines and imprisonment, with the severity often depending on the amount misappropriated and the perpetrator’s role within the organization.

Our approach is tailored to each client’s unique situation, leveraging our extensive experience and strategic insights to advocate effectively on their behalf. Recognizing the profound impact that such charges can have on an individual’s reputation and professional life, we’re committed to providing a defense that not only addresses the legal challenges but also supports our clients through this difficult time.

For those accused of or under investigation for embezzlement in Florida, prompt legal representation is crucial. Contact Leppard Law at 407-476-4111 to schedule a consultation. Our team is ready to defend your rights and work towards the best possible outcome in your case.

How Embezzlement is Prosecuted in Florida

When it comes to prosecuting embezzlement in Florida, understanding the legal framework and process is crucial for anyone facing such charges. Embezzlement, while not explicitly named in Florida statutes, falls under the broader category of theft as outlined in Florida’s property theft statute, 812.014. This statute encompasses a wide range of theft-related offenses, including those involving the misappropriation of funds or property entrusted to someone’s care—essentially, what we commonly understand as embezzlement.

In Florida, the prosecution of embezzlement hinges on several key factors, including the amount of money or the value of the property embezzled, the defendant’s relationship to the victim, and the method by which the funds or property were appropriated. The legal process begins with a thorough investigation, often involving detailed financial audits and the gathering of substantial documentary evidence.

Once enough evidence is collected, charges are formally filed, and the case may proceed to trial unless a plea agreement is reached. It’s a complex process that requires a nuanced understanding of both legal and financial principles. The role of trust in embezzlement offenses is particularly significant in Florida, as the betrayal of trust can escalate the severity of the charges and penalties.

Legal Process of Embezzlement in Florida

Given the complexities involved, those accused of embezzlement in Florida face a challenging legal battle. The stakes are high, with potential consequences including hefty fines, restitution, and imprisonment. The severity of the penalties often correlates with the amount embezzled, making high-value cases particularly perilous for the accused.

At Leppard Law, our defense attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies of Florida’s legal approach to embezzlement. Our team, led by Joe Easton and John Vallillo, brings over 60 years of combined experience in criminal defense to the table. We understand the critical importance of a proactive and strategic defense in embezzlement cases, and we are committed to leveraging our expertise to protect our clients’ rights and interests.

For anyone facing embezzlement charges in Florida, the path forward can be daunting. However, with the right legal representation, it’s possible to navigate these challenges effectively. If you or someone you know is in this situation, we encourage you to reach out to Leppard Law at 407-476-4111 for a consultation. Our dedicated team is ready to provide the support and defense you need during this critical time.

Key Takeaway: Embezzlement in Florida is a serious offense prosecuted under the state’s property theft statute. The legal process is complex, emphasizing the need for experienced legal representation to navigate the challenges and advocate for the accused’s rights.

Penalties for Embezzlement in Florida

When it comes to facing embezzlement charges in Florida, understanding the potential penalties is crucial. The consequences of embezzlement can vary significantly, depending on the amount of money or the value of the property embezzled. Florida law categorizes embezzlement based on the value of the stolen assets, which can range from misdemeanor charges for smaller amounts to felony charges for larger sums.

Understanding the Consequences

For amounts less than $300, the offense might be considered a misdemeanor, which could result in up to a year in jail. However, as the value of embezzled funds increases, so does the severity of the penalties. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Less than $100: Second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
  • $100 to less than $300: First-degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • $300 to less than $20,000: Third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Financial exploitation of the elderly and embezzlement often fall into this category.
  • $20,000 to less than $100,000: Second-degree felony, with penalties including up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Cases involving forgery or identity theft can escalate to this level.
  • More than $100,000: First-degree felony, which could lead to up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. High-profile computer hacking cases that result in significant financial loss are examples of crimes that might reach this threshold.

Beyond jail time and fines, being convicted of embezzlement can have long-lasting effects on your personal and professional life. It could lead to a loss of professional licenses, difficulty finding employment, and a permanent criminal record. In certain cases, embezzlement can also result in a driver’s license suspension under Florida Statute 812.0155.

Given the complexities involved in embezzlement cases, including the intricate financial transactions and documents that often play a central role, having an experienced defense attorney is essential. The team at Leppard Law brings a wealth of experience in handling white-collar crimes, employing a strategic approach to safeguard your rights and work towards the best possible outcome in your case. Our goal is not just to fight for your legal rights but to protect your future from the detrimental effects of an embezzlement charge.

If you’re facing embezzlement charges, don’t wait to seek legal help. Contact Leppard Law at 407-476-4111 for a consultation and let our experienced team provide the defense you need.


Defense Strategies Against Embezzlement Charges

When you’re facing embezzlement charges, the weight of the world might seem like it’s on your shoulders. But with the right defense strategy and a skilled attorney by your side, there’s hope for a favorable outcome. At Leppard Law, we understand the intricacies of white-collar crime defense and are dedicated to providing our clients with the personalized, effective representation they deserve.

Building a Strong Defense

Embezzlement cases often hinge on complex financial documents and transactions, requiring a detailed and strategic approach to defense. Here are some common defense strategies that might be employed:

  • Lack of Intent: Proving that the accused did not have the intent to commit a crime is a cornerstone of embezzlement defense. It must be shown that any misappropriation of funds was due to a misunderstanding or mistake rather than criminal intent.
  • Insufficient Evidence: The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that embezzlement occurred. If the evidence is weak or circumstantial, it may be possible to argue that there is not enough basis for a conviction.
  • Duress: In some cases, it might be argued that the defendant was forced into committing the act under threat of harm, making the act not of their own volition.
  • Entrapment: This defense may be viable if it can be shown that the defendant was induced to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed, often by law enforcement officials.

These strategies require a deep dive into the financial records and transactions at the heart of the case, as well as a thorough understanding of both state and federal laws governing embezzlement. Our team at Leppard Law leverages extensive experience in white-collar crimes, including forgery and identity theft, to build a robust defense for our clients.

Moreover, our defense strategies are tailored to the unique circumstances of each case. Whether it involves challenging the prosecution’s evidence, negotiating plea deals, or fighting for an acquittal at trial, our approach is always strategic and client-focused. Our goal is not only to protect your legal rights but also to safeguard your future.

With a dedicated team led by attorneys like Joe Easton and John Vallillo, who bring over 60 years of combined experience to the table, Leppard Law is well-equipped to handle the complexities of your case. Our success is built on a foundation of meticulous preparation, aggressive advocacy, and a deep commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients.

If you or someone you know is facing embezzlement charges, time is of the essence. The sooner you enlist the help of a skilled defense attorney, the better your chances of mounting a successful defense. Contact Leppard Law today at 407-476-4111 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you navigate through this challenging time.

Gavel and Scales - Symbolizing Criminal Law

Remember, an embezzlement charge does not have to define your future. With the right legal team on your side, you can fight back and move forward. Let Leppard Law be your advocate in this critical moment.


Infographic depicting the words Embezzlement

What exactly is embezzlement?

Embezzlement is a form of financial fraud where a person, often an employee, illegally takes money or property that they were trusted to manage or hold. This act involves deliberately misappropriating assets for personal use despite initially having lawful possession of them.

What are some common methods of embezzlement?

  • Falsifying records or invoices to hide the theft.
  • Creating phantom employees and collecting their salaries.
  • Misusing company credit cards for personal purchases.
  • Transferring company funds to personal accounts.

How can embezzlement be detected?

Detecting embezzlement often involves regular and thorough audits, monitoring financial records for irregularities, implementing strong internal controls, and encouraging an ethical workplace culture where employees feel comfortable reporting suspicious activities.

What are the consequences of embezzlement?

Consequences of embezzlement can include criminal charges, which may result in imprisonment, fines, and restitution payments. Additionally, there can be significant personal and professional repercussions, including damage to one’s reputation and future employment opportunities.

Other Practice Areas We Serve

Exploring the vast landscape of legal challenges, we offer expertise in a wide array of practice areas beyond embezzlement, tailored to meet the diverse needs of our clients in Florida.

Abuse of Public Position Crimes Prohibited Access to Stored Communications
Florida Anti-Tampering Act Bribery of a Public Servant
Criminal Investigations of Charities Computer Hacking
Deceptive Marketing Practices Economic Crimes
Embezzlement Environmental Crimes in Florida
Financial Exploitation of the Elderly Crimes of Extortion
Forgery Crimes Identity Theft Crimes in Florida
Federal Crime of Identity Theft Orlando Illegal Gambling Defense Lawyers

List of Top-Rated Embezzlement Attorneys Serving Florida

Choosing the right legal representation is crucial when facing embezzlement charges. Our team, led by seasoned attorneys, is dedicated to providing strategic defense and personalized attention to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

  • John Vallillo: With over 25 years of experience, John Vallillo combines deep legal knowledge with a proactive approach to defend against embezzlement charges effectively.
  • Joe Easton: As a former prosecutor with a knack for detail, Joe Easton offers a unique perspective and robust defense strategies for those facing embezzlement allegations.
  • Joel Leppard: Joel Leppard’s innovative defense tactics and commitment to excellence have made him a go-to attorney for complex embezzlement cases in Florida.

Discover What Our Clients Are Saying

At Leppard Law, we pride ourselves on our dedication to our clients, fighting tirelessly to protect their rights. The positive feedback we receive highlights our commitment to excellence and client satisfaction.



Infographic depicting the words Embezzlement

Secure Your Future with Leppard Law: Your Embezzlement Defense Team

When facing embezzlement charges, the path ahead can seem daunting. At Leppard Law, we understand the gravity of your situation and the impact it can have on your life. That’s why we’re more than just your attorneys; we’re your advocates, your confidants, and your team, committed to fighting for your rights and securing the best possible outcome for your case.

With over 60 years of combined experience, our team of skilled attorneys, led by Joe Easton and John Vallillo, has a proven track record of success in defending Floridians against embezzlement and other white-collar crimes. Our unique and strategic approach to each case, coupled with our commitment to excellence, has earned us over 300 5-star Google reviews and recognition as a top-rated criminal defense firm.

Your Voice, Our Mission: At Leppard Law, we believe in clear, consistent communication. You’re not just a case to us; you’re our priority. We’re dedicated to providing personalized attention and tailored defense strategies to ensure your side of the story is heard loud and clear.

From Their Bench to Your Defense: Our attorneys’ experience as former prosecutors gives us an insider’s perspective on the criminal justice system, allowing us to anticipate the prosecution’s tactics and build a stronger defense for you.

Tech-Savvy Defense with a Personal Touch: Led by tech enthusiast Joel Leppard, our firm leverages cutting-edge technology to enhance our legal services, ensuring efficient and responsive support throughout your case.

Don’t let embezzlement charges dictate your future. With Leppard Law by your side, you have a team that’s not only equipped with the legal expertise and resources of larger firms but also offers the dedicated, personal attention you deserve. Make the call today and take the first step towards securing your freedom and peace of mind.

Contact Leppard Law now at 407-476-4111 to schedule your free consultation. Experience firsthand our unmatched dedication to client satisfaction and our relentless pursuit of justice on your behalf.

Awards & Recognitions

Our commitment to excellence has not gone unnoticed. Leppard Law is honored to be recognized among the best in the legal field, as evidenced by the following awards:

  • SuperLawyers “Rising Star” (2019 – 2020) – A testament to our peer-recognized achievements in legal excellence. SuperLawyers
  • Awesome Attorneys Orlando (2019-2023) – Voted by readers of Orlando Family Magazine and legal peers. Orlando Family Magazine
  • Listed among the “Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando” – A recognition of our expertise and client-focused service. Expertise
  • Top 10 Best DUI Lawyers in Orlando, FL (2017-24) – Highlighting our specialization and success in DUI defense. Thumbtack
  • Martindale Hubbell “Client Champion Platinum” (2018-24) – Reflecting our exceptional client satisfaction and service. Martindale Hubbell

At Leppard Law, we’re not just your attorneys; we’re your strongest allies. Call us today at 407-476-4111 for a free consultation and let us start fighting for you.

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Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Expert Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and our content team, this article reflects our firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience in DUI and criminal defense, not only offers legal representation but a commitment to turning legal challenges into victories. His approach combines tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensuring your case is championed with dedication and expertise.

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