When one thinks of Embezzlement in New York, one usually thinks of a Grand Larceny type scheme. While this may be true, experienced New York criminal lawyers will tell you that an Embezzlement based Grand Larceny investigation, arrest or indictment may only be the tip of the iceberg. In fact, while one’s main objective may be a theft, there are numerous other crimes that one may face if one is charged or arrested for Grand Larceny by Embezzlement in New York.
A savvy and experienced prosecutor is likely able to throw a litany of charges at you that tie back to a Grand Larceny and Embezzlement arrest. If one doesn’t stick, the prosecutor realizes that there are many additional charges that may. Obviously, some Embezzlement charges in New York are more serious than others. For most people, however, any type of felony conviction will cripple their career. While no New York criminal defense attorney can guarantee a particular result in the face of an Embezzlement charge, arrest or indictment, he or she should be able to assess your case, discuss the possible charges and implement a defense.
Potential Embezzlement Crimes in New York
Grand Larceny in the Fourth, Third, Second and First Degrees
New York Grand Larceny, Penal Law sections 155.30, 155.35, 155.40 and 155.42, addresses the thefts or embezzlement of property and money valued in excess of $1,000, $3,000, $50,000 and $1,000,000 respectively. Generally, regardless of the nature of the property (in the Embezzlement context it is usually, if not always, money), if the you steal property in these value ranges, you will face these charges. A conviction for 155.30 carries a maximum sentence for a first time offender of 1 and 1/3 to 4 years in prison, while convictions for 155.35, 155.40 or 155.42 carry maximum sentences of 2 and 1/3 to 7, 5 to 15 and 8 and 1/3 to 25 years in sate prison respectively.
Forgery in the Second Degree
New York Penal Law section 170.10 deals not with the actual theft, but the altering of a “written instrument” where it is done with the intent to defraud. An easy way to visualize this is if you, for example, sign checks in the name of someone else. The mere signing of the receipt, invoice or check could be deemed Forgery in the Second Degree as long as all of the elements are satisfied. A “D” felony, Forgery in the Second Degree carries a maximum sentence of 2 and 1/3 to 7 years in prison for a first time offender.
Obviously, the New York Embezzlement crime with the greatest potential punishment is the Grand Larceny offense. Merely because Grand Larceny is likely the most serious crime does not mean the others are less significant. While the District Attorney’s Office may aggregate the total theft from your employer over a period of years into one Grand Larceny charge, each time you made the deposit, wrote someone’s signature or tried to cover up a crime by altering the books, you may be charged with multiple crimes. In other words, every time you made that deposit or signed the name you can face a new charge that could potentially be consecutive in nature. You signed your supervisor’s name 15 times over the course of the year…that could be 15 Forgery charges. What you believed might be “only” a one count Grand Larceny indictment may become a 50 count indictment involving multiple crimes.
This article on New York Embezzlement laws and crimes is not the right place to identify and set forth a defense to allegations against you, but if nothing else, it can help set the parameters in which you and your New York criminal lawyer will likely need to operate. In fact, there may be other charges and crimes that you may face beyond those addressed here (Saland Law PC will have a second entry in this section regarding Identity Theft and Falsifying Business Records). For legal advice on your particular case, discuss the allegations in depth with your counsel so he or she can ascertain how to proceed and protect your liberty.
Saland Law PC is a New York criminal defense firm that has successfully represented (case results) clients in investigations, arrests, and indictments involving white collar crimes throughout New York City and the region. Prior to starting the firm, the founding New York Embezzlement attorneys both served as prosecutors under Robert Morgenthau in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
For extensive information on the crimes of Grand Larceny and Forgery, please follow the highlighted links above to the Saland Law PC website. Additional information on these crimes, as well as criminal statutes, legal decisions and cases in the news, can be found by searching the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog (NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com).
** The second installment of the Embezzlement Criminal Law Primer can be found through the link.