White-collar crimes are no joke, and most have serious consequences. If you face an embezzlement charge, you may receive stiff penalties as well as an unwelcome reputation in your community, professional circles and throughout your industry. 

If your employer has accused you of embezzlement, your co-workers may avoid you. Rumors spread quickly, and even loyal friends may start to question your character and integrity. Just when you need support the most, you may have questions, yet you may not know anyone who has answers. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about embezzlement. 

What is embezzlement? 

Mississippi statutes define embezzlement as a particular type of theft. There are three key elements that define embezzlement: 

  • Using or taking property or money that does not belong to you 
  • Accessing said property because of your position of trust or employment 
  • Acting intentionally and knowingly, and therefore fraudulently 

What are the consequences of embezzlement? 

In Mississippi, embezzlement of money or property valued under $1,000 is a misdemeanor. Conviction may result in a jail sentence of six months and a fine of up to $1,000. 

Embezzlement of money or property worth $1,000 or more is a felony. Punishment in felony cases may involve imprisonment for up to 20 years and a fine of up to $25,000. 

Embezzling from a trust or public entity carries additional penalties. Repeat offenders are subject to harsher sentences. Embezzlement may be a federal offense, which adds a level of complexity. 

How can I protect myself? 

You are innocent until proven guilty. To successfully gain a conviction against you, the prosecution will need to prove every element of embezzlement. If you are able to cast doubt on even one of the aspects, your defense may triumph. 

It is important that you launch the best defense you can so that this accusation does not follow you for the rest of your life. Educate yourself about the law and your rights.