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While common, embezzlement carries harsh penalties.

Many people have been tempted to use their position within a company to benefit themselves financially. Whether driven by personal financial troubles or something else, giving into the temptation can seem worth it.

Embezzlement, however, is a serious crime that authorities do not take lightly. It carries significant penalties that can not only deprive you of your freedom, but can also tarnish your professional reputation.

For this reason, if you suspect that you are under investigation for embezzlement, whether you feel it is warranted or not, it is important to talk to a criminal defense lawyer immediately. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the sooner you can start protecting yourself from potential charges.

A common crime

According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the misappropriation of assets, which includes embezzlement, represents about 90 percent of all white-collar crimes. About two-thirds of all white-collar crimes become court cases, and more than half of the defendants either plead guilty or no contest. However, those are not the only options. With the right attorney, challenging the charges may be possible.

Charges often filed after years of embezzlement

The “2013 Marquet Report on Embezzlement” included six years of data, and researchers concluded that most embezzlers hold financial positions of some sort. Embezzlement may go on for several years before someone discovers what is happening. 

Because it can take years for charges to be filed in an embezzlement cases, many people are under investigation long before they are charged with a crime. If you suspect authorities are looking into your behavior, don't wait to protect yourself.

Looking for legal help

If someone accused you of embezzlement outright, or you sense that you may be under investigation, it is important to retain a criminal defense attorney. You have options. An open discussion with an attorney will help you understand the consequences you face as well as how best to approach your specific situation.

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