- What happens if I am charged with embezzlement?
- What are my options?
- Is it a Felony or Misdemeanor?
- What are the long-term consequences?
- What is the difference between Larceny by Employee?
- How does it affect my job?
- Can Employers Refuse to Hire Me?
Embezzlement and Employee Theft charges are serious in North Carolina. The amount does not matter, if you stole from the job it’s a Felony – Bill Powers
Embezzlement in North Carolina was created, ‘to punish the misappropriation of property rightfully in the possession of the alleged wrongdoer, who . . . could not be convicted of larceny, because there was no taking from the owner’s possession by an act of trespass.’ State v. McDonald, 133 N.C. 680 (1903).
What’s the Difference Between Embezzlement and Larceny by Employee?
To be honest, they are often referred to interchangeably by lawyers. Indeed, they are charged about as often or frequently by the State.
There is one primary difference: Embezzlement refers to people in a position of trust or authority, like a public official.
Larceny by employee is limited to “servant[s] or other employee[s]”
Embezzlement may also be committed by those who hold public office; fiduciaries, such as executors and trustees; bailees; and others who are entrusted with property
Modified Transcription of “What happens if I am charged with embezzlement?” for the Hearing Impaired
Stealing From Job
Hi, there. This is Bill Powers of Powers McCartan, based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
We have offices in Charlotte, Concord, and now my law partner John Landreth has opened up an office in Rock Hill, South Carolina. By the way he’s the only attorney authorized to practice law down there. So, I’ll leave him to answer the questions in South Carolina and all my answers are based on North Carolina state law.
These questions are online questions. These are questions that people post on different message boards. These are not client questions.
Although we see very similar inquiries and that’s one of the reasons that we want to provide answers to these questions is to help our clients and I guess potential clients out. The question is, I was caught stealing from my job, put a little asterisk right there, $420 dollars, there’s another asterisk right there, in cash and merchandise. I’ll put a asterisk there too. I confessed and I still got charged with a felony.
Everything added up to whatever it is and it doesn’t really matter but I’ll say 400 dollars versus a thousand dollars. I confessed and was truthful. I would just like to pay the money back.
Well, again, I guess you do because you’re looking down the barrel of a very serious charge, a felony charge and potentially I guess it would be embezzlement.
It could be larceny by employee which it doesn’t matter how much the value was. It doesn’t matter that you confessed. If you steal one dollar in North Carolina you’re looking at that felony. It’s a very, very serious law.
Now, some other felony larceny type of cases where we see unlawful concealment, larceny by trick, shoplifting type of deals, taking property from someone else of more or less than a certain value. Normally, it’s a thousand dollars and there is a delineation between it being a misdemeanor and a felony.
If you work for a company and you’ve been entrusted with the responsibility of you know selling goods or taking goods and exchanging goods, taking money, if you take one dollar and you confess to it it’s a felony – Bill Powers
So, it doesn’t matter the value in North Carolina. Does it matter if it’s cash and merchandise? Not really because it’s the value of the total item. Now, we tend to see when it’s cash, we tend to see those charges be more of the embezzlement type versus the larceny by employee but as a practical matter it doesn’t really much matter in our mind and did it help that you confessed everything and you just want to pay the things back?
Well, I guess that’s early acceptance of responsibility but still you’ve confessed to a felony to your employer and that can have long term consequences. This is one of the more frustrating aspects of my job in my practice where people they take responsibility and admit things and yet they don’t realize that there are consequences to what they took responsibility for.
Like, well I, they caught me, you got me. Can’t you just dismiss the charges? Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t opportunities that ameliorate or limit or even in some instances eliminate criminal charges through a deferral program, deferred disposition, conditional discharge, but when you take something that’s not yours unlike many, many other cases in North Carolina those can have, those can leave a mark is what I like to say.
They leave a possibility of making it difficult for you to get jobs, possibilities of you finding other forms of employment or the same type of employment that, that you wanted to do in the past because employees generally don’t want to retain and hire employees that steal stuff, that there is a propensity of dishonesty.
We call it a crime of moral turpitude or theft or dishonesty. No one wants to be labeled a thief. That’s because employers generally do not want to hire dishonest people. The have to trust their employees and if you’re labeled as dishonest or a thief, it can make it difficult, if not impossible, to find a job in the future.
It also can have immigration consequences. Even if the charges were dismissed, if you admit or take responsibility for that criminal act, oftentimes we see this in a deferred or deferral type of program, deferred disposition, positional discharge where you write a statement up and say on this and this date I did unlawfully and intentionally and knowingly steal these items.
Even if the charge was eventually dismissed, even if it was eventually expunged from the record through a process called expunction in North Carolina, graciousness goodness, you may be denied access under one of the different federal immigration laws, because you’ve admitted to the criminal activity they don’t really care. Now, we don’t do immigration law in North Carolina in our office at all. In fact, in ever instance we refer the client out to a, and hopefully a certified criminal or immigration law attorney, because it’s really, really, really, complicated but there are some big, big picture items that we look at as criminal lawyers and this is one of them.
This is one of the ones where we say, we always ask if you’re a U.S. citizen. We’re not trying to be xenophobic or racist like that. We just have to ask and then we say, if you are here illegally or even on a green card or on some kind of conditional entry into this country you need to speak to an immigration lawyer to find out what the consequences are for being charged, for having some sort of deferral program and ultimately if you were convicted and it’s not just theft crimes either. It’s a complicated area of law. It has long term consequences and I see kids everyday that take minor items from even the grocery store, college kids, high school kids and they find, they can’t believe that they can’t get a job five years down the road and that’s what happens.
So, give us a call.
Telephone number is 704-342-4357.
My name is Bill Powers and the name of the firm is Powers McCartan.
We’d love to talk to you and help.