Embezzlement may be a term you’ve heard before, but may not really know what it’s all about.
The truth is that embezzlement is a white-collar crime that happens far more than people realize. It involves many different kinds of schemes. It’s also often perpetrated by the people you least suspect.
A former teller of a Danville, Virginia bank was finally caught in North Carolina. He had been on the run for two years from embezzlement charges.
Over the course of about 14 months, he managed to embezzle over $600,000 from the credit union where he worked. He replaced the stolen money with counterfeit bills.
What is white-collar crime? What kind of penalties would that bank teller face as a result of criminal embezzlement schemes? Read on to find out.
White Collar Crime
White-collar crime is crime that doesn’t involve violence. Instead, it’s committed for financial gain.
Often, crimes that fall under the umbrella of “white-collar” involve some level of concealment, violation of trust, and deceit. The scheme is often perpetrated to secure a business or personal advantage.
This could include obtaining property, services, or money through dishonest measures within an organization—or avoiding their loss.
Fraud and money laundering are examples of white-collar crimes, but so is embezzlement. In an embezzlement scheme, a person in a position of trust over another’s property steals the money or property for their own personal gain.
The Penalties for Embezzlement in North Carolina
In the state, embezzlement can be complicated. That’s because North Carolina looks at the position held by the defendant over their victim as well as the property taken.
The sentencing grid used when convicted of embezzlement imposes harsh penalties on those with a previous criminal history, too.
That’s why penalties often differ greatly from case to case. It’s up to the judge to determine what mitigating or aggravating factors are present at the time of sentencing.
Sentencing for Public Employees
If a public employee is convicted of embezzlement in North Carolina, they can face these general penalties:
- Property worth less than $100,000 – between 20 and 25 months behind bars
- Property worth $100,000 or more – between 59 and 73 months in prison
The penalties have such a wide range, because they vary according to the value of property or money embezzled.
Sentencing of Public Official and Others
For those who who hold public office, bank officers or employees, officers of railroad companies, or a partner in a North Carolina state partnership, they can face these penalties:
- Property worth less than $100,000 – Class H felony, punished by up to six months in prison
- Property worth more than $100,000 – Class C felony, punished by up to 73 months behind bars
The bank teller from the news story may face over six years in prison for his embezzlement. In any embezzlement case, the judge can also order that the defendant pay restitution to their victims.
As you can see, embezzlement is complex, and the charges vary quite a lot. Some circumstances merit federal charges, as well, especially if the embezzlement occurred at a financial institution, like a bank.