Three Things to Remember About Oklahoma Embezzlement Charges

Tracy Tiernan - January 14, 2021 - Criminal Defense

Embezzlement in Oklahoma can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The determining factor in embezzlement charges is the value of the property. When the amount embezzled is below $500, the offense is classified as a misdemeanor. For an embezzled amount greater than $500, the offense is categorized as a felony. Various nuances exist about how embezzlement charges are prosecuted in Oklahoma, however. The following are four important things to consider when facing embezzlement charges.

Establishing Embezzlement

Prosecutors in Oklahoma must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the person accused of embezzlement fraudulently appropriated the assets of another for his or her own use. 

Penalties Associated With Embezzlement

Charges associated with embezzlement vary based on the value of the property involved. Consider the following classifications:

  • If the value of the property embezzled is less than $1,000, the penalty includes fines up to $1,000, imprisonment of up to one year, or both fines and imprisonment.
  • If the value of the property embezzled is between $1,000 and $2,499.99, the penalty includes up to two years in prison, fines of up to $5,000, and required payment of restitution. 
  • If the value of the property embezzled is between $2,500 and $14,999.99, the penalty is a sentence of up to five years in prison, fines up to $5,000, and required restitution.
  • If the value of the property embezzled is $15,000 or greater, the penalty is up to eight years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and required restitution.

Potential Embezzlement Defenses

One of the most common defenses against the crime of embezzlement is that the property in questions was appropriated openly and conspicuously as part of a claim of good faith. This defense, however, does not excuse keeping the assets after a claim is made for payment by the aggrieved party. Additionally, the fact that a person intended to pay back the embezzled property at a later date is not a defense.

Other possible defenses to embezzlement include the following: 

  • The property was legally given to the defendant for a particular purpose.
  • A lawyer or someone with power of attorney was charged with disposing of the property.
  • The defendant is holding the property, which is intended for the use of another.

Obtain the Assistance of a Skilled Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyer

Embezzlement is a serious offense, which is why you if are charged with the crime, you should not hesitate to obtain the assistance of an experienced attorney. A compassionate criminal defense lawyer understands how seriously these charges or a subsequent conviction can disrupt your life, including your work and personal goals. Contact attorney Tracy Tiernan today to schedule a free case evaluation.