What is embezzlement and what does the prosecution need to prove?

On Behalf of | Apr 13, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Embezzlement is one of the lesser-known theft offenses and it can be difficult to know exactly what it entails. If you’ve been charged with the offense, you may not be completely clear about what exactly the prosecutor needs to do to find you guilty if you are currently facing charges.

Under Nebraska Law, embezzlement involves fraudulently converting property that the holder was in possession of lawfully with an intention to permanently deprive the owner of that property.

This offense usually occurs during the course of an individual’s employment. By its nature, an embezzlement conviction is going to result in serious consequences for you both legally and reputationally if you are found guilty.

What needs to be proven by a prosecutor?

The burden is always on the prosecution in criminal matters to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor needs to show that you were entrusted with property and that you wrongfully disposed of that property for your own gain. They must show that you had the intention of permanently depriving the owner of the property in question.

A prosecutor must prove the above before you can be found guilty of the offense. The amount of money involved will then determine the penalty and whether your charges will be classified as a misdemeanor or felony offense.

Common defenses to embezzlement

It’s usually not clear-cut that an employee has simply stolen from their place of employment. There are often many good reasons why an employee might take money or property from their employer and it usually comes down to proving intent. A lack of intent and acting in good faith are common defenses to a charge of embezzlement. The prosecution may also simply not have sufficient evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you are facing an embezzlement conviction, seeking legal assistance as early on as possible can help in putting forward the best defense in response to the prosecutor’s case.