As you moved ahead in your career, you undoubtedly tried your best to be seen as a valued and trusted employee. Because you have always done your best to work in the interests of the company, you may have felt concerned when you learned that an investigation was open regarding embezzlement from the company. You may have felt shocked to learn that you were one of the suspects.
The idea of stealing from the company may seem absurd to you; nonetheless, if you are a suspect, it is crucial that you take the situation seriously. Now, you have likely decided to gain more information on what embezzlement is, why investigators may have suspected you, what could happen if you face charges and how to defend yourself.
In broad terms, embezzlement is essentially taking funds meant for someone else. However, for this crime to have occurred, certain elements must also exist, including the following:
- The existence of a fiduciary relationship, meaning one in which the company trusted you, relied on you and held you responsible for managing assets appropriately
- The intentional taking and misappropriation of funds
- The use of the fiduciary relationship to misappropriate the funds
- The taking of ownership of the funds or the unauthorized transferring of funds to someone else
If you work closely with funds associated with the company, your coming under suspicion may not be entirely unplausible. However, it does not mean that you are guilty. Evidence of the aforementioned factors must exist.
What if you face charges?
In the event that criminal charges do come against you, you will certainly want to explore your legal options for defending against the allegations. A conviction for embezzlement could result in monetary fines, a requirement to give back the funds and possibly cover other financial damages, and the possibility of time in jail. Of course, it could also cause substantial damage to your reputation as a New Jersey employee.
Fortunately, you do not have to roll over and accept a negative outcome to this situation. It is possible that you will not face charges and will only have to answer questions as part of an investigation. Nonetheless, it pays to understand your legal rights and options and how you could best protect yourself in this type of predicament.