Search Site
307 West Rio Road | Charlottesville, Virginia 22901
Call For Consultation 434-973-7474

Virginia Embezzlement Defense Attorneys Fight for Your Freedom

Capable representation for white-collar crime charges that could end your career

Being accused of mismanaging funds is bad enough, but being brought up on charges of embezzlement can be devastating to your reputation and lead to prison time. It’s important to consult a criminal defense attorney as soon as you learn of an investigation. At Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C. in Charlottesville, our criminal defense lawyers have ample experience with white-collar crime cases, including matters where embezzlement is alleged. When we get involved early, we can guard you against statements or actions that could harm your chances at trial. If charges have already been brought against you, we can provide the aggressive defense you need to counter the accusations effectively.

Elements of the crime of embezzlement

Embezzlement is a particular type of financial crime, where a person with authority to manage someone else’s resources abuses that authority for unlawful self-enrichment. Considered a form of white-collar crime, embezzlement requires opportunity and a position of trust. Defendants in embezzlement cases are often professional fiduciaries, such as financial managers, accountants and bankers.

To convict a defendant of embezzlement, the prosecution must prove four elements:

  • A fiduciary relationship existed between the defendant and the alleged victim
  • The defendant acquired property through the fiduciary relationship
  • The defendant has taken ownership of the property
  • The defendant intended to commit embezzlement

The defendant must go beyond simply taking possession; they must convert the asset(s) for their own use.

Common defenses to embezzlement charges

Prosecutors must prove all four required elements to obtain a conviction. Many defenses focus on the fourth element: the accused’s intent. A defendant might disprove intent by showing:

  • Duress — In a duress defense, the accused demonstrates that they were compelled to take improper actions by someone else. When a defendant performs an act because of a reasonable fear of some greater danger from another person, the requisite criminal intent does not exist. A defendant cannot claim duress because of drug addiction or financial hardship, however threat of firing from a boss can support this defense.
  • Entrapment — Entrapment occurs when a government agent coerces an innocent person into committing a crime they would not have otherwise committed.
  • Mistake — In this instance, a defendant claims to have taken property under a mistaken belief that they were entitled to it.
  • Incapacity — A person who is mentally incapacitated at the time cannot act with criminal intent. If a person was acting under the influence of prescription medication and mistakenly appropriated funds, that might constitute a lack of capacity. However, voluntary intoxication is not a valid defense.

Our criminal defense team evaluates the circumstances of your charges and develops a defense strategy that is appropriate for your case.

Severity of embezzlement charges in Virginia

Embezzlement is a non-violent theft crime, and can be charged as a state misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount of money involved. Convictions can draw stiff fines and lengthy jail time, along with demands for restitution. But you should also be aware that certain facts can make embezzlement a federal crime. For example, if the defendant took money from a federal agency, used a phone or the Internet to commit the crime, or took funds from a bank that belongs to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, federal charges can be brought. Given the complexity of these cases, you should only trust your case to a determined and experienced criminal defense law firm.

Contact our Charlottesville, VA criminal defense lawyers to schedule a consultation

Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C. in Charlottesville defends clients accused of committing white-collar crimes, including embezzlement. Call today at 434-973-7474 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. For your convenience, we also have offices in Harrisonburg, Palmyra and Staunton.

See Our Videos
  • Charlottesville Personal Injury Attorney - It Is About the Money

  • Charlottesville Divorce Attorney - What To Expect During Your First Family Law Consultation

  • Protect yourself during Move-In or Move-Out of an Apartment

  • How do I find a good personal injury attorney?

  • Charlottesville Estate Planning Talk

  • Charlottesville Personal Injury - What Is My Case Worth?

Meet Our Attorneys
  • ""Bill Tucker and his team were the answer to my real estate prayers! After being transferred to another state .."" - Short Sales

  • ""Yvonne Griffin represented me in an accident case that required many months of hands on attention .."" - Personal Injury

  • ""Ms. Barnes, I cannot thank you and your staff enough for taking my case at was a very dark time for me .."" - Social Security Disability

  • ""Lynn Bradley has been a force that has proven to be competent, professional and exceled at her work .."" - Worker's Compensation

  • ""Ms. Hakes, Thank you so much. You don't know what a wonderful gift you just gave to me, my son's .."" - Criminal Defense

  • ""When you first interview Laura Butler, it is apparent you are in the presence of a true professional in all .."" - Family Law

  • ""Mr. Tucker, I cannot thank you enough for all your work. I wish everyone had your work ethic and attention .."" - Real Estate

Firm Awards & Recognition
Contact us

Main Contact Form