Law Office of David P. Shapiro - San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney




2550 Fifth Ave Suite 1050, San Diego, CA 92103

San Diego Embezzlement Lawyer

Embezzlement is considered a white-collar theft crime that can carry severe penalties, including potential prison time and steep fines, especially in large-scale cases. Our embezzlement defense attorneys have represented clients facing all types of embezzlement charges across San Diego County.

We understand these financial crime cases and know how to scrutinize the prosecution’s evidence, identify holes in their arguments, and pursue all possible defenses on your behalf. Do not let embezzlement allegations derail your career and future – contact us to begin building a strong legal strategy.

Embezzlement Under California Law | Penal Code § 503

California Penal Code 503 defines embezzlement as the fraudulent appropriation of property by someone to whom it has been entrusted. 

In other words, a petty or grand theft occurs when a person trusts you to manage their money or property, and you misuse that trust for personal gain.

To be convicted of embezzlement in California, the prosecution must prove the following elements:

  • You had a relationship of trust with the victim, such as an employer-employee relationship.
  • The victim entrusted you with their property or money.
  • You fraudulently converted or used that property for your benefit.
  • You intended to deprive the victim of the use of their property.

Embezzlement is closely related to other white collar crimes, such as grand theft, forgery, and fraud. 

Depending on the value of the property stolen and other factors, California prosecutors can charge embezzlement as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Types of Embezzlement Cases in San Diego

Embezzlement can occur in many ways and in several industries. 

Some common types of embezzlement cases we handle in San Diego include:

  • Employee theft or misuse of company funds.
  • Financial advisor or accounting fraud.
  • Insurance fraud (violations of the California Insurance Code).
  • Public corruption or misappropriation of government funds.
  • Ponzi schemes and investment fraud.
  • Embezzlement by trustees or executors of estates.

No matter what type of embezzlement charges you’re facing, our skilled San Diego embezzlement lawyers have the knowledge and experience to build a strong defense on your behalf.

Penalties for Embezzlement Convictions in California

Since the state punishes embezzlement as grand theft or petty theft, you may be charged with a felony or misdemeanor.

This rule makes Embezzlement a “wobbler” under California law. 

The penalties for an embezzlement conviction in California depend on several factors, including the value of the property stolen and your criminal history. 

These penalties may include:

  • Misdemeanor embezzlement (property valued at $950 or less): Up to 6 months of potential jail time and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Felony embezzlement (property valued at more than $950): Up to 3 years of potential prison time and a fine of up to $10,000.

In addition to criminal penalties, an embezzlement conviction can also carry collateral consequences, such as:

  • Restitution to the victim.
  • Loss of professional licenses or certifications.
  • Difficulty finding employment due to a criminal record.
  • Immigration consequences for non-citizens.

For these reasons, it’s necessary to work with a knowledgeable San Diego embezzlement attorney who can help you minimize the potential consequences of a conviction.

Federal Embezzlement Charges | 18 U.S.C.31

While embezzlement can be prosecuted at the state level, it may also result in federal charges depending on the specifics of the alleged crimes. Federal embezzlement charges often come into play when:

  • The embezzlement involves federal funds, property, or employees of the federal government
  • The embezzlement is connected to activities like mail fraud, wire fraud, or transporting stolen goods across state lines
  • The embezzlement relates to financial institutions like banks that are federally insured
  • The total amount embezzled meets the high dollar threshold for federal prosecution

Federal embezzlement cases are extremely serious and complex. They are investigated by agencies like the FBI, IRS, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Penalties for federal embezzlement convictions are often much harsher than state charges, potentially including decades in federal prison.

If you are facing federal embezzlement charges, it is imperative you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer well-versed in federal law and procedures.

Defending Against Embezzlement Crimes

Just because law enforcement arrests you for, or a prosecutor charges you with embezzlement, doesn’t mean you’ll be convicted. 

There are many possible defenses that a skilled criminal defense attorney can raise on your behalf, depending on the facts of your case. 

Below, we’ve listed four common defenses to embezzlement charges.

1. Insufficient evidence to prove intent

The state must prove that you intended to deprive the victim of their property. Prosecutors may reduce or dismiss charges without evidence of fraudulent intent.

2. Good-Faith Intent

If you believed you had a legal right to the property or acted in good faith, you may not be guilty of embezzlement.

3. Duress

You may have a defense of duress if someone coerced or pressured you into committing embezzlement.

4. False allegations or mistaken identity

In some cases, the state may have based embezzlement charges on false allegations or a case of mistaken identity. A thorough investigation by your defense attorney can help uncover the truth.

We carefully review the facts to identify every possible defense and build the most robust case on your behalf.

Why Hire Our San Diego Embezzlement Lawyers?

Our criminal defense law firm has the skills, experience, and outstanding performance record to protect your rights and advocate for reduced charges or a dismissal where possible.

Here are just a few reasons to choose the Law Office of David P. Shapiro to handle your embezzlement case:

  • Years of experience defending embezzlement and fraud cases
  • In-depth knowledge of state and federal embezzlement laws
  • Relationships with experts in accounting investigation and financial evidence gathering
  • Thorough negotiators and trial attorneys

We understand what’s at stake and will work with you to achieve a favorable outcome for your case.

Contact Us Immediately If Under Investigation or Arrested for Embezzlement

If you’ve been arrested or are under investigation for embezzlement, the most important thing you can do is to speak with the Law Office of David P. Shapiro as soon as possible.

The earlier you involve us, the more time we’ll have to investigate your case, gather evidence, and build a strong defense on your behalf.

You have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney during police questioning. Speak with a qualified San Diego embezzlement lawyer as soon as you believe you may be accused.

The Law Office of David P. Shapiro offers confidential consultations to discuss your case and explain your legal options. 

Contact us today to take the first step towards mitigating your embezzlement charges or making them disappear completely.

Client Reviews

Real Clients Share Their Experience

“David and his staff did an excellent job managing all aspects of my case. He and his staff are professional, courteous, and do their best to take care of their client’s needs. When I had initially called for a consultation they were prompt with a response. They answered my questions regarding my case, explained what my options were, and had developed a game plan during our first phone call. He has a very reasonable pricing. When dealing with either David or his support staff I felt that they always had my best interests in mind. I would definitely use their services in the future if the need arises. I would definitely recommend his legal services to any friends and family in the San Diego area.”

—Chris S.  —  Google Review