Victim of Embezzlement

Embezzlement is the dishonest appropriation of money, checks or goods by a person who was placed in a position of trust, either by the government, a business, non-profit organization or some other group.

It’s seen on a broad scale – from small business accountants to CEOs of mega-corporations.

Our Miami embezzlement victim attorneys at Jacobs Keeley know many times, victims are conflicted. On one hand, they may be feeling personally violated, angry and even ashamed for not recognizing the problem sooner.

On the other hand, embezzlers are usually individuals with whom victims shared a personal relationship. They were trusted. There is consternation about how the outcome of a criminal investigation may harm the offender’s life or their family.

And yet, there may be practical concerns about looming tax implications and what the theft is going to mean in terms of the future of the firm.

We recognize these are often sensitive cases. Our experienced attorneys offer discrete and sound advice about the best course of action to minimize public scrutiny, field inquiries from the media, prepare clients for questions or audits from the Internal Revenue Service, serve as a victim advocate in criminal proceedings and explore the possibility of civil litigation.

In some cases, victims contact us first, particularly when they aren’t certain of the decision to file a criminal complaint against the offender. Bear in mind that police reports, once written, become public record. That opens the company or organization to a great deal of scrutiny even at the early stage of the investigation.

We can help determine whether criminal action is required and/or the best form of asset recovery, or if a private settlement agreement may be better suited to the situation.

Warning Signs of Embezzlement

One of the first steps to addressing embezzlement is to identify it.

  • While embezzlement can take on numerous forms, some red flags that may alert to a problem include:
  • Records missing or disorganized.
  • Unexplained changes in accounting records.
  • Numerous or unusually large credits to customers.
  • Late bank reconciliations.
  • Unusual or unexplained dip in available cash or profits.
  • Amounts on certain checks are altered.
  • Duplicate payments made to certain customers or vendors.
  • Too many payments made to the same person with the same address or name.
  • Vendors’ addresses match up with an employee’s address.
  • Disappearance or frequent replenishment of petty cash.
  • A worker with a gambling habit.
  • A worker whose standard of living inexplicably increases.
  • Complaints from customers about duplicate payments.

Even if several of these criteria are met, it’s always advisable to contact us before confronting the suspect to ensure you have enough evidence.

Embezzlement Victim Action

A victim of embezzlement in Florida has a lot of decisions to make soon after discovery of the theft. But he or she doesn’t have forever to do it.

There are two deadlines a victim of embezzlement has from the time it is discovered. Those are:

  • The three-to-five-year statute of limitations for initiation of a criminal case (depending on if it’s an under-$300 misdemeanor or an over-$300 felony; extended to 7 years if embezzlement involves government money or property).
  • The four-year statute of limitations on a civil lawsuit for embezzlement.

This might sound like a lot of time, but these cases can be complex. Your attorney is going to need as much advance notice as possible to help you build your case. Plus, the sooner you act, the more likely evidence can be adequately preserved.

In a criminal case, F.S. 812.081 declares embezzlement of any trade secret a third-degree felony.

In preparing for either, success will depend on the specificity and breadth of your evidence. We can help you determine what kind of information and documentation you must gather. That includes information concerning all witnesses/involved parties, suspect’s personnel file, physical evidence (videos, e-mails, checks, invoices), computer forensic evidence and chronological narrative.

We also work to inform your banker and the Internal Revenue Service of the breach. We initiate an immediate removal of signatory of suspect from all accounts, and make requests to the bank for any helpful evidence, including surveillance footage of ATM deposits.

If you or your organization or firm is victim of embezzlement, contact us today.

Contact the Miami Embezzlement Victim Attorneys at Jacobs Keeley Trial Lawyers for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights.

Call us at (305) 358-7991.

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