About Federal Embezzlement

Embezzlement occurs when a person who is trusted with access to certain assets and property uses said access to steal, defraud, misappropriate, or transfer the ownership to enrich himself/herself. This type of white collar crime becomes a federal offense when either the U.S. government is involved, the perpetrator is a federal employee, or the situation has national interest at stake. 

Furthermore, businesses and individuals who have access to assets and property from the federal government or receive some or all of their income from U.S. taxpayers may be subject to federal embezzlement charges. Such parties include contractors, employees from private firms, and even individuals in the real estate industry. 

The following are the potential penalties for embezzlement based on the value of money or property involved: 

  • Property worth less than $1,000 – Punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one (1) year and a fine of up to $100,000. 

  • Property worth more than $1,000 – Punishable by imprisonment for up to ten (10) years and a maximum fine of $250,000 or double the money embezzled (whichever is greater). 

Furthermore, embezzling any instruments or tools that can be used to produce counterfeit currency is an aggravated offense that carries a maximum prison term of ten (10) years and a fine of up to $250,000. Keep in mind, prison terms can range from a few months in jail to over 30 years in prison, depending on the amount stolen, the timeframe of the alleged embezzlement activity, the amount of trust given to the defendant, and his/her criminal history. 

There is also a point system to determine an appropriate sentence for the offense. The lowest number of points – generally referred to as the “Base Offense Level” – is six (6) points, while the highest possible number is 36.  

If the loss is $5,000 or less, then six points are assigned. By contrast, a total of 36 points means the victim’s losses are more than $400 million. 

If you or a loved one is facing federal embezzlement charges, contact Martin G. Weinberg, Attorney at Law today at (617) 227-3700. Get more than 40 years of experience in federal courts on your side.