Embezzlement is when a person in a position of trust misappropriates assets entrusted to him or her. The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice does not specifically use the term embezzlement. Rather, embezzlement is defined as theft by failure to make required disposition of property received.
If you have been accused of embezzlement, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Embezzlement is a very serious crime, and an attorney can help you understand your rights and options.
In general, embezzlement is punishable by a fine and/or a prison sentence. Under New Jersey law, the severity of the punishment depends on the value or the type of property that is stolen. There are four categories of penalties, ranging from least to most serious:
- Less than $200: A theft that falls under this category is considered to be a disorderly persons offense. The main penalty for this category is a fine of up to $1,000.
- At least $200 but not more than $500: Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 18 months.
- More than $500 but less than $75,000: This category also includes specific types of property, including firearms, motor vehicles, vessels, boats, horses, domestic animals, and airplanes. Penalties include a fine of up to $15,000 and a prison sentence of between three and five years.
- $75,000 or more: Penalties include a fine of up to $150,000 and a prison sentence of between five and ten years.
A person convicted of a theft crime may also be ordered to pay the victim restitution. In the case of embezzlement, restitution usually involves compensating the victim for the value of the money or property that was stolen. Usually, restitution is in addition to the fines and imprisonment.