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When individuals in Virginia and elsewhere think about financial crimes, they likely think about the theft of money through a robbery or fraud. They might also think about the accused offender seizing the money from a stranger. While these types of crimes do occur and carry with them serious penalties, some financial crimes stem from a person's employment. Embezzlement charges stem from an employee's supposed theft or larceny of assets he or she is in the position of trust or responsibility over the said assets.

What are the elements of an embezzlement charge? In order for a person to be charged and convicted of embezzlement, four factors must exist. First, a fiduciary relationship must exist between two parties. In other words, there must be reliance and trust by one party on the other. Second, the accused party must have acquired the money or property through the fiduciary relationship and not through other means.

Next, the accused must have taken ownership of the money or asset, or they must have transferred them to someone else. Finally, the actions taken by the accused must have been intentional. If one or more of the elements are not met, it is likely that the charges will not remain. Additionally, the accused could use this information or evidence to help assert a defense against the charges. This could ultimately help a defendant reduce or dismiss the charges against them.

Being accused of a financial crime such as embezzlement can have a major impact on the life of the accused. Thus, it is important to understand the severity of the matter and how a defendant can strategize a defense to clear his or her name.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Embezzlement," accessed August 27, 2017

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