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Determining Harm in Sentencing New York Embezzlement Cases

In the scope of embezzlement cases, harm is individualized. For example, harm to a person may be a theft of $10,000. However, to a Fortune 500 company, $10,000 probably does not impact them as much.

Irrespective of whether the harm is tangible, a $10,000 theft is no lesser of a crime depending on who the alleged victim was.

To best understand the relevance of harm in your New York embezzlement case, it is important to consult with an attorney immediately. A knowledgeable theft lawyer in New York City can help you understand the legal processes necessary to properly handle your charge.

Elements of Harm

If a company is grossing $150,000 a year, a theft of $10,000 or $50,000 will be significant. Every dollar amount is relevant. Even if an individual is stealing millions of dollars from a company that profits billions, the amount will still have a big impact.

Harm is related to a variety of elements, such as:

  • Dollars
  • The ability of the company to operate
  • How many people are impacted
  • How a company can continue to operate or cease operating

Harm could be valued and calculated in many ways. It does not have to be a direct dollar amount, but it is going to be a relevant factor especially if it adversely impacts a business.

Impact on Sentencing

Harm does not impact the sentencing of a New York embezzlement case. Only dollar values impact guidelines.

Once a person is within a certain guideline, the dollar amount, harm, restitution, mitigation, strength of evidence, and the person’s restitution come into play. Harm can have a direct impact on where a defendant is sentenced within the guidelines.

Determining the Degree of Harm

Once the dollar amount is ascertained, a person will fall within a certain guideline of embezzlement depending on the level of harm. Harm and impact are used in New York embezzlement cases to merely adjust the potential sentence within the allotted framework.

The nature or magnitude of the harm is more of a subjective thing, and is decided based on the ramifications to the alleged victim the person stole from. The person's ability to pay back the person, the ability of the person to maintain their business, pay their bills, pay their vendors, service their clients, pay their insurance, pay their employees, continue to operate, keep their lights on, and a variety of other elements.

The judge will also consider the period of time the person perpetrated the crime, the position they were in that allowed them to do that, if the defendant has accepted responsibility for the crime, and any personal mitigation. All of these factors will be considered when determining an individual’s sentence.

Even if they are not specifically enumerated in the sentencing guidelines, these elements will have an impact on the person’s charge.

Mandatory Sentence Minimums

The two things that make a sentence carry a mandatory minimum is the dollar amount of the taking, if it exceeded a certain amount, or if a person has a prior felony within the previous 10 years.

A person could possibly have destroyed a business by only stealing $7,500, but will not carry a required prison sentence for a first-time offender. However, if a person stole a million dollars and was convicted of a crime within the past 10 years, prison time would be mandatory.

Contact an Attorney

It is important for an individual charged with embezzlement to consult with an attorney immediately. This is important because a person is not going to find a prosecutor or judge that is sympathetic toward someone who has committed these crimes.

Anytime an individual may have harmed another, no matter if it is on the street or at someone’s place of business, there are going to be consequences.

If a person mishandles their case, they will often end up in prison. They could be wrapped up in criminal proceedings for an extended period of time. Any individual who has been charged with embezzlement needs the assistance of an experienced attorney who can advocate strongly on their behalf.

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