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How Are Embezzlement Charges Handled in Wisconsin?

Posted on in White Collar Crimes

b2ap3_thumbnail_attn-jason.jpgBy: Attorney Jason Luczak

There are different types of offenses that are considered to be white collar crimes, and these offenses usually involve illegal activity of a financial nature. Embezzlement is a common charge in white collar criminal cases, and those who have been accused of this offense will need to understand the nature of the charges and the potential consequences of a conviction. Anyone who has been accused of a crime will want to secure legal representation from a criminal defense attorney who has experience handling these types of cases and who can help build a solid, effective defense strategy. 

Understanding Embezzlement

Embezzlement is a form of theft or fraud committed by someone who was entrusted with the management or control of someone else’s money or property. Typically, embezzlement will involve an employee stealing money or otherwise misappropriating property from their employer. Multiple types of actions may fall under this category, including:

  • Physically taking property owned by an employer, such as removing a computer or other equipment from an office and claiming that it was lost or stolen

  • Transferring money from an employer’s bank account into a person’s personal account

  • Making false payments on behalf of an employer, such as by paying a vendor for work that was not actually performed while receiving these payments in a personal account or through a third party

  • Billing an employer for false expenses or other purchases that did not actually occur and keeping the money for one’s personal use

  • Paying excessive bonuses to themselves or awarding large bonuses to another employee while agreeing to split these amounts

In Wisconsin, embezzlement is included under the general category of theft rather than being categorized as a separate offense. The penalties for embezzlement depend on the amount of money or property that was allegedly stolen or misappropriated. Embezzlement of $2,500 or less is a misdemeanor offense; but amounts higher than $2,500 will result in felony charges. The most serious embezzlement offense, which involves theft of more than $100,000, is a Class F felony, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to 12 years and six months, as well as fines of up to $25,000 and the requirement to pay restitution for the money or property that was stolen.

In a recent example of an embezzlement case that took place in Wisconsin, two defendants were convicted of embezzling more than $777,000 from a Native American addiction and counseling center by paying themselves unauthorized bonuses. Because the money was stolen from the federal government, they faced federal charges, and they were both convicted of theft. While the defendants received relatively short prison sentences of one to two years, likely due to their ages (63 and 77), they were required to pay restitution of the full amount stolen: $777,283.

Contact Our Milwaukee Embezzlement Defense Lawyers

If you have been accused of embezzlement, theft, fraud, or other white-collar crimes, Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can help you determine your best options for defense. We will provide you with the quality representation you deserve during your case, helping you achieve a positive outcome. Contact our Milwaukee white collar crime defense attorneys at 414-271-1440 to discuss your charges in a consultation.

Sources:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/943/iii/20

https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdwi/pr/two-sentenced-embezzling-over-777000-native-american-addiction-counseling-center

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/embezzlement.asp


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