March 05, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Florida criminal law: retired sheriff's deputy arrested for embezzlement
Article provided by The Law Office of Donald A. Lykkebak
Visit us at http://www.donaldlykkebak.com
In January 2013, a retired 22-year Broward County sheriff's deputy in her 70s was in Florida state court for allegedly embezzling about $40,000 over a five-year period from her local Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, which she served as president, according to the Sun Sentinel.
The Fraternal Order of Police, or FOP, says on its website that it is the "world's largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers" with over 2,000 local lodges.
Retired from the force since 2001, the defendant faces charges of grand theft between $20,000 and $100,000 for the alleged embezzlement. The Sun Sentinel describes some of the details of the court proceeding, including that bail was set at $40,000. Her attorney reportedly pointed to her advanced age and said that she could not afford that level of bail. In response, the assistant state attorney said that her age was not relevant, as she was still sharp enough to perpetrate the alleged embezzlement scheme.
Information also came out in court that she had fled to New York for a time to escape the white collar crime charges.
Embezzlement in Florida
The crime of embezzlement concerns theft of money or other property when it is taken by someone who has been legally entrusted with it. For example, someone in a responsible, fiduciary position like a bookkeeper, officer, trustee, conservator, guardian, real estate broker, financial manager or bank teller who fraudulently siphons off for his or her own use money or property of the person or entity to which it belongs is considered to have embezzled it.
Florida law also considers physical misappropriation of the record of a trade secret to be embezzlement.
In Florida, embezzling behavior usually falls under the crime of "grand larceny" and a conviction can subject the defendant to imprisonment, fines and court costs. The nature of any previous criminal record also may impact the severity of the sentence.
In addition to criminal penalties, embezzlement can put Florida professional licenses in jeopardy (such as those in financial, investment and real estate fields), and certain fiduciaries like guardians or trustees may be removed from their responsibilities.
An embezzlement defendant may be susceptible not only to state criminal charges, but also to federal criminal charges or a civil lawsuit.
Embezzlement prosecution and defense
Proof of embezzlement can be a complex, daunting task for the prosecution because it often involves the scrutiny of massive amounts of financial records. Accordingly, rather than starting with an arrest, the criminal prosecution of embezzlement may instead begin with an investigation. For example, a potential defendant may be faced with a subpoena for records or have his or her accounts frozen by the authorities.
Anyone who believes that he or she is being investigated under suspicion of embezzlement should seek the advice of an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible. A defense lawyer can help monitor the process to be sure that the defendant's constitutional and legal rights are protected in the process. Ultimately, if the defendant is charged, his or her attorney can help sort through the complex evidence and develop a vigorous defense.---
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