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Embezzlement and Employee Theft in Tampa, FL

One of the most serious accusations that can be made against an employee is "employee theft" (often called "embezzlement"). Employee theft is a serious criminal offense that is aggressively prosecuted. If you did commit a crime, never make a statement to the employer, fellow employee or any law enforcement officer. Even if you were falsely accused, you should invoke your right to remain silent until after you have talked to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case. 

It is possible for the employer to waive prosecution if restitution is paid early in the investigation and other steps are taken quickly to make amends. Additionally, for a first time offender, the prosecution might consider a diversion program where the charges can ultimately be dropped. The prosecutor will usually not agree to diversion unless the employer agrees. Some prosecutors have a policy of not offering any kind of diversion program in an employee theft case.

Employee theft cases can involve large retail establishment, small businesses, non-profit organizations and even charities. The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm, P.A., have represented clients in serious employee theft charges throughout central Florida, including Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Hernando County, and Manatee County, Florida.

The degree of the charge will depend on the amount stolen. Employee theft cases can be charged as a first degree, second degree or third degree felony. Whether the taking was for less than $300 or more than $100,000, let us put our experience to work to help you resolve the case under the best possible terms. Call 813-250-0500 today to talk with an attorney about the specific facts of your case.


Theft by Employees is a Serious Problem in Florida

It is estimated that the cost of employee theft exceeds more than one-hundred billion a year. People arrested for this offense often site a high level of stress at work or a dishonest corporate culture as a factor that lead to their decision to steal from an employer. 

If you have been arrested or think that you might be arrested for employee theft, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss ways to aggressively fight this accusation before you make any statements to your employer or law enforcement.

According to recent crime statistics from the United States Chamber of Commerce, nearly 75% of all employees steal from their employer at least once, and that half of these people steal from their employer repeatedly. It has been estimated that one in every three business failures are a direct result of theft by an employee.

Many cases involve a single respected and trusted employee stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from an employer over a course of many years. One of the most common situations in these types of cases involve an older female employee who has been with the company for 10 or more years. When the employee is finally caught, the employer usually has no choice but to initiate a criminal prosecution, and sometimes a civil lawsuit which can tie up the employee's personal assets in hopes that the employer will receive full restitution.

Other cases can involve much small amounts taken by an employee. Many of these cases involve young people who work as cashiers or otherwise take money directly from customers during the course of their employment. Employee theft or embezzlement is usually considered a type of white collar crime because it is committed during the course of employment. Related charges often include scheme to defraud which is alleged in the alternative.

Different Types of Charges in Employee Theft Cases in Florida

Employee theft cases can be charged under a variety of criminal statutes in Florida, including the following:

  1. Grand theft;
  2. Embezzlement;
  3. Scheme to Defraud; and
  4. Fraud.

Grant theft can be charged as a first degree felony, a second degree felony, or a third degree felony. Theft of less than $300 is charged as petit theft, which is a misdemeanor offense. A theft of less than $100 is often charged as a second degree misdemeanor. Under Florida's scheme to defraud statute, a series of small thefts can be aggregated into a more serious charge.

Finding an Attorney for Employee Theft Cases

False accusations by employers are possible, and the consequences of such a false accusation can be devastating to the employee. Whether you have stolen from your employer or been falsely accused, it is important not to represent yourself. Anything you say to your employer, co-workers or law enforcement officer can be used against you. If you make any statements or sign any kind of written document, it can and will be used against you.

Your attorney can best present your explanation of events, and mitigating evidence to your employer, law enforcement and the prosecutor. Your side of the story can best be told through your attorney who can help you document what occurred, explain the circumstances, show mitigating factors, and potentially negotiate a civil compromise between you and your employer to avoid criminal prosecution.

If your employer has accused you of theft in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County, and Hernando County, Florida, contact an experienced Tampa Attorney for Employee Theft to discuss your rights, and the best way to address the allegation and protect yourself. Call 813-250-0500 for a free confidential consultation to discuss your case.

This article explaining employee theft charges in Florida was last updated on Friday, August 14, 2015.