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Wisconsin Embezzlement: A Brief Overview

 Posted on November 27, 2017 in Criminal Defense

white collar crimes, embezzlement, embezzlement laws, Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer, Wisconsin embezzlement casesTheft can take many forms, from seemingly minor offenses like shoplifting to major financial crimes involving millions of dollars, high-value real estate, and/or banks or other organizations. While the news often focuses on bank fraud, securities fraud, and other high-profile white collar crimes, another form of theft that is common in Wisconsin is embezzlement. 

Embezzlement Laws in Wisconsin

Embezzlement is typically defined as the theft of money or property by an employee from his or her employer. However, it can also include the theft of property that is placed in one’s trust by someone else, such as a friend or family member. 

While Wisconsin statutes do not actually use the word “embezzlement,” they do have a two-fold definition of theft that is similar to embezzlement:

  1. The person has possession of someone else’s “money, security, instrument, paper or writing” because of his or her business, employment, or role as a trustee, and
  2. The person acts to intentionally transfer the property into his or her or someone else’s control without the owner’s consent.

Embezzlement is based on a relationship between the perpetrator and the owner of the property that is stolen. This affiliation often takes the form of an employer/employee relationship in which an employee entrusted with money or property belonging to the employer decides to keep some or all of it for his or her own individual use.

However, embezzlement can also arise from other types of relationships, such as when someone who manages a family member’s finances misappropriates that person’s funds for personal gain.

Penalties for Embezzlement

Some embezzlement cases may be settled as a civil matter. An employer or organization may file a civil lawsuit to recover damages from an employee or partner who has allegedly misappropriated property. However, embezzlement is a criminal offense, and depending on the amount of embezzled property, it can be a misdemeanor or felony. 

The penalties for embezzlement in Wisconsin are as follows:

  • For property valued at less than $2,500 - Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a maximum of nine months in prison.
  • For property valued between $2,500 and $5,000 - Class I felony, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a maximum of three years and six months in prison.
  • For property valued between $5,000 and $10,000 - Class H felony, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a maximum of six years in prison.
  • For property valued at more than $10,000 - Class G felony, punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Contact a Milwaukee, WI, Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been accused of embezzlement in Wisconsin, the skilled, experienced lawyers at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can help you understand the charges and work with you to determine your best options for defense. Contact a Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer at 414-271-1440.



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