Embezzlement is a serious crime in Nevada, and it involves stealing money or property entrusted to you by the owner. Depending on the value of money or property you take for personal use, you could be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. The penalties resulting from a conviction for embezzlement under NRS 205.300 include jail or prison time and fines..
In addition to the time you spend behind bars, a conviction for embezzlement will leave behind a permanent criminal record that could affect your ability to seek employment in the future. By enlisting the guidance of a skilled criminal defense attorney, you can ensure that you have done everything possible to fight the accusations and avoid the consequences of a conviction.
At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we have the legal knowledge and experience you need to build a strong defense for your case. If you or your loved one faces embezzlement charges in Las Vegas, NV, we invite you to contact us.
Overview of Embezzlement under NRS 205.300
Embezzlement is a crime if fraud or theft involves mishandling property, money, or assets belonging to another person. This crime is commonly known as employee theft, and it involves financial advisors, employees, or other individuals in the corporate setting. The crime of embezzlement begins when another person entrusts money, assets, or another valuable item under your care.
When the property owner trusts you to be responsible for the item, you establish a financial relationship with them. In most cases, the property owner requires you to monitor, manage and make decisions regarding the use of the money or property. You commit the crime of embezzlement when you break the trust and use the assets for personal gain.
No set amount must be involved for you to be charged with embezzlement. You can be cited for violating NRS 203.300 even when you take a few hundred dollars from your employer. Using money entrusted to you for personal gain could attract civil and criminal charges. A criminal case would start with an arrest and filing of charges in criminal court. In contrast, the civil aspect of the case could involve your employer suing you to recover compensation for the amount you misappropriated.
Embezzlement is a serious crime. However, before you are convicted of the offense, the district attorney or prosecutor must prove that the following four things occurred. If these factors are not met, the embezzlement charges cannot stick:
- Fiduciary relationship. To prove your guilt under NRS 205.300, it must be clear that the property owner entrusted the stolen item to you or gave you the responsibility to manage it. If you steal something not under your case, you cannot be guilty of embezzlement. However, you can face charges for other offenses like grand theft or petty theft.
- You acquired the asset through a financial relationship. A financial relationship is established when someone else entrusts something of value to your care or control. The district attorney must prove that you acquired the asset or property while relying on the financial relationship created with the owner.
- You took or transferred ownership of the property. The prosecution must prove that you used the money or asset for personal gain or transferred it to another person without the owner’s consent.
- You acted with fraudulent intent. A crime of embezzlement cannot be complete unless you intentionally intended to defraud the property owner. You cannot be found guilty under this statute if you accidentally transfer or use the assets entrusted to you.
Punishment for Embezzlement in Nevada
If you face an arrest and are charged with embezzlement, the type of property taken and its value will determine the severity of your sentence after a conviction. If the property you took is valued at $650 or less, you will face misdemeanor charges. A conviction for misdemeanor embezzlement in Nevada attracts a jail sentence of six months and a fine not exceeding $1,000. Additionally, you may be required to compensate the victim with an amount equal to the value of their property.
If the property in question were valued between $650 and $3,500, the prosecutor would charge you a Class C felony. A conviction for a class C felony in Nevada is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from one to five years, victim restitution, and fines not exceeding $5,000.
Embezzlement of money or assets worth more than $3,500 is the most serious form of the crime and is charged as a class B felony. If you are convicted for embezzlement as a class B felony, you risk facing a prison sentence of ten years. Additionally, you could be ordered to pay fines worth $10,000 and compensate the victim.
If you commit two misdemeanor embezzlement offenses against one person within six months. The court could combine these offenses into one felony. In this case, small amounts of money stolen from one person within a long time could result in serious felony charges.
In addition to jail time and fines, a conviction for embezzlement could have negative immigration consequences. As a felony, embezzlement is a deportable crime. Also, having a conviction on your record is detrimental to your ability to secure a job or obtain a professional license. Therefore, if you are an immigrant, these unlawful acts could cause you to be sent out of the US. However, with the guidance of a skilled attorney, the prosecutor could dismiss the charges or reduce your charges to a non-deportable offense.
Defense against Embezzlement Charges
With the serious consequences accompanying a conviction for embezzlement, you cannot aff0rcto be convicted of the offense. It would be best to speak with a competent criminal defense attorney as soon as the arrest. Your attorney can evaluate the circumstances of the case and prove that some of the factors required to establish your guilt were not met. The following are some defenses you can put up against the charges:
Lack of Intent to Defraud
Your intention to defraud the alleged victim must be clear for you to be guilty of embezzlement in Nevada. Therefore, your attorney can argue that your actions were unintentional. Thus you lacked the specific intent required to deprive the property owner of its benefit. In embezzlement cases, criminal intent can be challenging to prove, giving you a chance to escape a conviction for the offense.
You Had a Good Faith Belief
When fighting embezzlement charges, you can argue that you had a good faith belief that you acted with consent from the property owner. Even when your actions turn out to be a mistake, you can claim that you thought your decision was within the scope of responsibility bestowed on you. However, this defense may not be effective if you attempt to conceal your actions.
Before the prosecutor secures a conviction under NRS 205.300, they must prove all the above elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If all the elements are not sufficiently proven, it may mean that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to support the claim that you engaged in a crime of embezzlement. Lack of sufficient evidence weakens a criminal case, and the chances of a conviction will be lower.
It is not uncommon for theft charges such as embezzlement to stem from false allegations. Several reasons could motivate a person to accuse you of a crime you did not commit, including revenge, anger, or jealousy. In other cases, the alleged victim may be mistaken about the person who took the property. With the help of your criminal lawyer, you can bring the facts of the crime to light and secure a favorable outcome in the case.
As you build a defense against embezzlement charges in Nevada, it is essential to understand that returning the property cannot be used as a defense to the case. If your case is already in court, claiming that you returned the money cannot prompt an acquittal. Therefore, seeking legal guidance when facing charges under NRS 205.300 is vital.
Sealing a Conviction for Embezzlement in Nevada
Every person makes mistakes, and, unfortunately, these mistakes could follow you for years. A conviction for embezzlement can impact your personal and professional life significantly. However, Nevada law allows you to seal the conviction, which prevents it from appearing in the background checks carried out by your potential employers. You are not legally obligated to disclose a sealed record when applying for a job or obtaining a professional license in Nevada.
You seal your record by obtaining a copy of your criminal record. This will indicate details of your arrest, convictions, and penalties you had to serve. You need to draft a petition and drop it at the district attorney’s office when you have all the paperwork. After reviewing your petition, the district attorney will sign it and mail it to you. Navigating sealing a criminal record can be a very challenging experience. Therefore, seeking legal counsel is crucial.
The process of sealing your record can take a while. Factors that could delay your record sealing include:
- You have a challenging case, and your attorney needs time to investigate the situation and gather the necessary paperwork.
- There are many cases in the office, and the district attorney takes a while to review your petition.
- The Nevada Criminal History Repository has some backlog, and they take a while to release your criminal record.
When your record is sealed, it will rarely be reopened. However, if you face an arrest for a similar charge after the dismissal of your charges, the court could seek to reopen the sealed record. Additionally, when you face serious criminal charges, the prosecutor can request the court to reopen your sealed record to gather more information on other individuals involved in the crime.
Offenses Related to Embezzlement in Nevada
Under Nevada law, some offenses are closely related to embezzlement, and they include:
You commit the crime of identity theft when you use another person’s identification information to access their property or money. Using any of the following documents belonging to another person could attract charges for identity theft under NRS 205.461:
- Social security number.
- Driver’s license.
- Official names of the victim.
- Fingerprints and other biometric information.
- Other identification information.
In Nevada, identity theft is charged as a class B felony, and a conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in State prison and fines not exceeding $100,000. You could face an enhanced sentence for this crime if you commit the crime against a vulnerable person or you committed the crime to escape criminal prosecution. Since most identity theft cases result in serious financial losses, you may be required to compensate the victim for their loss.
NRS 205.220 defines the crime of theft as stealing another person’s property whose value is $1200 or more. The most significant difference between grand larceny and embezzlement is that embezzlement involves stealing f property that has been entrusted to you. Depending on the value of the stolen property, grand larceny could be charged as a category B, C, or D felony. A conviction for the offense attracts a maximum prison sentence of twenty years and $15,000 in fines.
Find a Las Vegas Criminal Lawyer Near Me
The State of Nevada has strict rules designed to protect money, assets, and property owners from being deprived of the use of these items. One of the protections for property and asset owners is against embezzlement. If you use money or property entrusted to you for personal gain, you could face arrest and criminal charges under NRS 205.300. Nevada law is strict on defendants who face embezzlement charges, and a conviction attracts life-changing consequences.
If you or a loved one faces embezzlement charges, you will require the guidance of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we will work closely with you to navigate the criminal court system to avoid a conviction or have your penalties reduced. We serve clients requiring legal guidance and representation to fight charges for embezzlement in Las Vegas, NV. Contact us today at 702-380-4278 to discuss more details of your case.