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Burden of Proof in a New York Embezzlement Case

When looking to prove a New York embezzlement charge, the prosecution will attempt to prove that the person wrongfully took property from someone else without the permission to do so. The prosecution will further argue that the person did not have the authority to take it. They will attempt to prove that this theft was a wrongful taking, and will certainly attempt to establish and prove the dollar amount associated with the crime. All of these are key factors and elements of any embezzlement charge, and contemplating and preparing a defense as to each and every one of these elements is essential.

To best understand the burden of proof in your embezzlement case, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced New York theft lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable attorney can assist in building a defense against all of these kinds of allegations and issues.

Proving Intent

The prosecution has to prove that the person carried out the crime intentionally. They must prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. If the person accidentally took the money, they believed it belonged to them, or it was otherwise not their intent to steal, that could potentially be not only a trial defense, but a basis for convincing a prosecutor to drop the case entirely. Generally speaking, this kind of intent issue is an issue of fact, meaning that it is an issue that would ultimately be dealt with at trial, and would not normally be a basis for a motion to dismiss or requiring that the court dismiss the case. This is different, however, than the prosecutor’s exercise of their own discretion and decision-making authority with respect to criminal charges. If a prosecutor comes to believe that there was no intent to steal, they have an ethical obligation to drop the case and dismiss the charges.

Sometimes, it is easy for the prosecution to prove a person’s intent to steal money, such as when there is strong circumstantial evidence in the form of an individual altering invoices or putting money into a bogus account. Because these kinds of charges often have very unique sets of facts, it is important to contact an experienced embezzlement attorney as soon as possible.

Relevant Evidence

The prosecution can use many different forms of evidence to prove an embezzlement charge. They may present altered invoicesfalsified transactions, check records, wire records, cash withdrawals and deposits, and bank accounts. The prosecution will then analyze the transactions taking place in the bank account, where the money is going, and how it is being accounted for. If the money is not being transferred into another bank account, but is instead being used on costs and expenses, the prosecution may subpoena car payment records, credit card records to establish how the accused person was making those payments in the hopes that it demonstrates the illicit funds were being used for that purpose. This may lead the prosecution to determine whether or not the person may be facing federal tax crimes as well.

Further Investigation

Prosecutors are likely going to talk to the defendant’s employers and colleagues who had access to these accounts, because there may be more money missing from the accounts than they realized initially, or because they may want to establish the defendant’s access to these accounts to help prove the case circumstantially. For example, if there is a shared login for account access, that can be a highly relevant factor in establishing the way in which the crime was committed. Similarly, the prosecution may examine time sheets to determine when an individual was working and if they were the ones that may have committed the crime.

The prosecution may further secure the suspect’s email account and search their emails for any potential evidence of the crime. They may also search their home, place of business, and seize their computer and cell phone. All of these things are going to be taken into consideration as potential evidence.

The nature of evidence in New York embezzlement cases can vary greatly depending on the crime, and the particular facts and circumstances of the case. Any individual charged should not hesitate before contacting a lawyer for legal guidance on the matter.

Call our criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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