Are you facing criminal charges for embezzlement in Chicago? If so, do not hesitate to contact the Kostopoulos Law Group for immediate legal assistance. Embezzlement is a serious crime of theft and the state will not hesitate to pursue the harshest penalties in your case. You have the right to fight the charges against you, and our experienced Chicago embezzlement attorneys can help. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with our legal team. We will review your case, explain your rights, and answer any questions you have.
What is Embezzlement?
When we hear that someone has been arrested for embezzlement we tend to think about rich people, fancy financial firms, and millions of dollars in stolen money. However, the crime of embezzlement does not require the perpetrator to be wealthy or to steal a large sum of money. Embezzlement is a white collar crime that can be committed by anyone who is entrusted with property in Chicago.
In Chicago, embezzlement is a crime of theft as defined in 720 ILCS 5/16-1. You can be charged with embezzlement when you are entrusted with another’s property and use that property for your own personal gain. When you take this property you must have the intent to deprive the true property owner of the use and benefit of that property. This does not mean, however, that the deprivation must be permanent. You can face charges of embezzlement even if you only unlawfully used the property for a short period of time.
The property that is stolen can be tangible (e.g., office supplies, jewelry, inventory) and intangible (e.g., the value of services rendered or money).
Examples of Embezzlement
Embezzlement occurs when a person abuses a position of trust for their own gain. Here are a few examples of situations that would be considered embezzlement in Chicago.
- You work as a bookkeeper for a small grocery chain and take $500 from petty cash to buy drugs or pay rent.
- You work at a car rental facility and let your friend borrow a car for the day without paying.
- You work as a retail clerk for a business that does a lot of business using cash. You pocket a few dollars from every transaction you handle.
- You work as a cable contractor and routinely visit homes to install valuable cable equipment. Instead of returning all of the equipment after work you take a few pieces for yourself to sell on the side.
Penalties for Embezzlement in Chicago
Embezzlement, which is a crime of theft under 720 ILCS 5/16-1, can be a misdemeanor or felony offense in Chicago. The specific charge and penalties you face will depend on the value of the stolen property.
Property Valued at Less Than $500: Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in a DuPage County jail and $2,500 in fines.
Property Valued at $500 – $10,000: Class 3 Felony, punishable by 2-5 years in an Illinois state prison and $25,000 in fines.
Property Valued at $10,000 – $100,000: Class 2 Felony, punishable by 3-7 years in an Illinois state prison and $25,000 in fines.
Property Valued at $100,000 – $500,000: Class 1 Felony, punishable by 4-15 years in an Illinois state prison and $25,000 in fines.
Property Valued at $500,000 – $1,000,000: Class 1 Felony, punishable by 4-5 years without possibility of parole in an Illinois state prison and $25,000 in fines.
Property Valued at more than $1,000,000: Class X Felony, punishable by 6-30 years in an Illinois state prison and $25,000 in fines.
The penalties for embezzlement can be aggravated if the victim of your crime is elderly or disabled or if the theft occurs in a school or in a place of worship. In addition to paying up to $25,000 in criminal fines you will also be required to pay back the victim for the value of the property you stole.
Defending Embezzlement Charges in Chicago
When you are formally charged with a crime in Chicago you have the right to assert any legal argument that can help to explain, justify, and/or excuse your alleged criminal behavior. When a defense is successful the state’s attorney will have a much harder time proving their case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney will use this as leverage to negotiate a favorable plea deal or have the charges against you dismissed. Defenses that may be helpful in your Chicago embezzlement case include:
- You mistakenly believed you owned the property;
- You actually own the property;
- You have been falsely accused;
- You took property accidentally, without criminal intent; and/or
- Your Constitutional rights have been violated.
If the police discovered stolen property while conducting an illegal search or arrest they should not be permitted to benefit from breaking the law. Our Chicago embezzlement attorneys will fight to get any tainted and illegally-obtained evidence thrown out of your case. When the state’s attorney does not have valuable evidence it will be difficult for them to establish their case.
Call Our Chicago Embezzlement Attorneys Today
If you are facing criminal charges for embezzlement in Chicago do not hesitate to contact criminal defense attorney Gus Kostopoulos for help. Mr. Kostopoulos is a former state’s attorney who understands that your future is on the line. He will use his insight and experience as a prosecutor to get the best possible outcome in your criminal case. He knows how the prosecution will approach your case and can be prepared to counter all of their arguments.
Call the Kostopoulos Law Group to schedule a free consultation with our legal team. We will review your case, determine potential strategies for your defense, and make sure that your rights have not been violated. The prosecution will begin to develop its case against you immediately, so do not hesitate to contact our office for help.