Under Rhode Island criminal law, Embezzlement may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-41-3. Embezzlement is a different form of larceny and that is a non-violent offense aimed at financial and/or personal gain. Embezzlement involves conversion where a person exercises unauthorized personal use or control over another person’s property over which they have lawful possession. The word “appropriation” is often used interchangeably with the word “conversion.”
Embezzlement is most often associated with the misappropriation of money. For example, this crime occurs when an employee or other trusted agent received property on behalf of the owner or by the owner to maintain and manage, but then fraudulently converts the property for his own personal gain without the owner’s consent.
Examples of Embezzlement
Generally, you see Embezzlement where the defendant is an employee and was entrusted with money or property of his employer. Some other examples include:
- A bank teller who pockets some or all of another person’s bank deposit;
- An office manager who takes and pockets customer refunds;
- An attorney who uses client’s funds for personal expenses;
- A payroll clerk or bookkeeper who does not deposit the correct amount of state taxes, and keeps the extra for himself or herself;
- An officer or other official of a non-profit organization taking some of the funds from donations and pocketing them for personal use.
Legal Elements of Embezzlement
In order to be convicted of Embezzlement, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:
- that the defendant came into possession of the property of another in a lawful manner;
- that the defendant converted the property to his own use;
- with the intent to permanently deprive that person of his property.
Potential Punishment if Convicted of Embezzlement in Rhode Island
Under Rhode Island law, a conviction for Embezzlement may be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending upon the circumstances. If the value of the embezzled property was less than one hundred dollars ($100), this is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) and/or imprisonment for not more than 1 year.
If the value of the embezzled property is equal to or exceeds one hundred dollars ($100), and the defendant shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 20 years. The defendant will also be fined not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or 3 times the value of the money, property that was embezzled, whichever is greater. This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-41-3.
If you have been charged with embezzlement and need expert legal representation, contact the Rhode Island Theft Defense Lawyers at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.