Unlike other, more familiar charges like theft and fraud, embezzlement is less common.
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.
Under Virginia Law, embezzlement is money or property that was wrongly taken by someone to whom it was entrusted. This usually occurs during the course of an individual’s employment.
As a result, an embezzlement conviction is going to have serious consequences for you both legally and reputationally if found guilty.
What needs to be proven by a prosecutor?
As with any criminal matter, the burden is on the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In accordance with the law on embezzlement, the prosecutor needs to show that another person entrusted you with their property, and that you were in lawful possession of that property.
Once they’ve shown the above, they need to prove that you wrongfully disposed of the property for your own gain with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of it.
Only once a prosecutor has proven both of the above can you be found guilty of the offense.
Common defenses to embezzlement
There are many good reasons why an employee might have taken money belonging to an employer. A lack of intent and acting in good faith being common defenses to a charge of embezzlement.
There’s also always the possibility that the prosecution simply does not have sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
For employees who are facing an embezzlement conviction, seeking legal assistance can help in putting forward the best possible defense in response to the prosecutor’s case.