You've Been Accused Of Embezzlement! Now What?

Embezzlement is one of the most common forms of white-collar criminal allegations. It's critical to respond to the situation in a structured manner and without panicking. You should follow these steps to start presenting a defense.

Retain Counsel

These charges are generally arcane and very legalistic. Prosecutors who bring these cases only do so when they have high confidence they can make a convictions stick. Such cases are heavy with paperwork, and you don't want to overlook anything.

You need to hire white-collar legal services immediately. Don't discuss the case with anyone until after you've met with an attorney and chosen a defense strategy.

Preserve Evidence

At first blush, this might sound bonkers. However, a white-collar crime attorney will always prefer to explain a piece of evidence rather than try to explain why a client was destroying it. Preserve emails, texts, memos, and voice messages. Make copies of all the paperwork, but only use personal or law firm resources to do it.

The penalties for destroying evidence are often worse than dealing with whatever the prosecution thinks to do. First, the prosecutors may overlook something or think less of it than you might. Second, if the court discovers the destruction, you will likely face obstruction of justice charges. Many people go to jail for coverups in cases where they otherwise would go free. Finally, a judge may impose an adverse inference, meaning they'll instruct the jury to assume the worst about what's missing.

Write Contemporaneous Notes

Purchase a legal pad and make basic notes about what you remember regarding the alleged wrongdoing. You want to make these notes as early as possible so you can jog your memory later. Write down dates, names, and locations that may be relevant and give the notes to your white-collar crime attorney.

Keep the notes as basic as possible. Don't draw inferences about what happened. Stick to the facts, and never assume someone else had a motive.

Follow Counsel's Instructions

Many people make the mistake of thinking they can make charges go away if they just explain a few things. One of the reasons retaining counsel comes first is so an attorney can tell you when to talk with investigators and which questions to answer.

When in doubt, invoke your right to remain silent and insist on having a lawyer present. Never tell anyone, even your spouse, anything unless your attorney tells you to do so.

To learn more about this topic, contact a white-collar crime attorney today.